• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Scottish independence and your UK list.... (1 Viewer)

JWN Andrewes

Poor Judge of Pasta.
I seem to be hearing a lot in the news at the moment about a push for a second Scottish Independence Referendum. Leaving aside the politics of this (please!!), how many species would you lose from your UK list? I know a lot of folk keep a British Isles list, or a Britain & Ireland list that could just as easily accommodate birds seen in an independent Scotland, but just as an idle thought experiment (I’m stuck isolating, so I suppose this thread is a product of too much time on my hands).

I’d lose 14 species, Lesser Canada Goose (Caerlaverock), two Harlequins (Sullom Voe & Aberdeen), two Barrow’s Goldeneye (or possibly the same, don’t know if it was ever determined – Meikle Loch & Callander), the Musselburgh White-winged Scoter, Caper & Ptarmigan, Albert, Grey-tailed Tattler (Burghead) & Short-billed Dowitcher (Rosehearty), Belted Kingfisher near Aberdeen, the Kilrenny Masked Shrike, Crested Tit, a Paddyfield Warbler at Torness & Scotbill.

Of course, twitchers north of the border would have to reckon things somewhat differently, but I would guess most would already keep a discrete Scotland List. I certainly keep a Wales list (but only really actively pursue a North Wales list), although I never figured out my England list when I lived there.

Any thoughts?


Well-known member
Now there's an interesting five minutes for the old grey matter I've never considered before. Having been brought up not that far from the border, a good percentage of my first 100 birds would have been in Scotland including things like Snipe, Wheatear, Willow and Sedge Warbler, Common Sand, Redpoll etc etc

But since then?Albert, caper, Ptarmigan, Crested tit, Harlequin (also Sullom Voe) , the 'crossbill thing', I haven't gone on to see elsewhere in UK either, JWNA. Come to think of it, I've only seen Two-barred Crossbill in Scotland too. My only UK Killdeer - Bo'ness 1983 - is a bit of a surprising one (to me anyway).

Some Shetland/Orkney ones: Pallas's Sandgrouse and his Grasshopper Warbler. Whites Thrush, Rubythroat, Lancy, Ruppell's, Sykes's Warblers. Magnolia and Cape May. Yellow-breasted Bunting.
Needle-tailed Swift (Hoy 88).

I ticked a Snow Goose in Dumfries & Galloway in 1984 FWIW and I really can't remember if I managed to deceive myself in to seeing another one anywhere since? (A Black-winged Stilt at Meikle Loch in November the same year was a bit of an unexpected time and place to add that to my British list, though I have gone on to see a few south of the border).

So about twenty? Might come up with a few more later, but for now, thanks for the mental stimulation I've actually managed to extend to fifteen minutes deep dive into the dusty archives of this former twitcher's mind.


Will Jones
My UK listing exploits have taken a massive hit since I left the country and I've not done much birding in Scotland. I think I would only loose Twite and White-tailed Eagle


Stop Brexit!
I'd be thinking more in terms of what species I might regain on my sadly depleted EU list - King Eider, Capercaillie, Ptarmigan, Red Grouse, Ring-billed Gull, and a few others (y)

Of course, if Northumbs seceded from Little England to (re)join Scotland & EU, that would be a huge re-gain.


Carpe Carpum
Staff member
Capercaillie, Cresties, Ptarmigan, Black Grouse, Rock Dove and both Eagles for me I think.

And with mammals I’d lose Pine Marten.

Last edited:

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Capercaillie, Ptarmigan, Crested Tit. No eagle problems, Lake District Goldies and WTE all over the place from Brill onwards. A shedload of vagrants though!

Mammals would take a fair bit of damage I suspect as well: Black Rat, Pine Marten, Wildcat, Orkney Vole, Harp Seal off the top of my head.

Think I'll stick with the British Isles list. Non political 😇



Well-known member
Despite living not all that far from the border, and regularly visiting the Berwickshire and East Lothian coasts, there aren't that many Scottish-only species on my British list. Never been chasing rarities in Shetland, although I'd love to visit Mousa for the storm-petrels one day.
The following spring to mind: capercaillie, ptarmigan, golden eagle, crested tit, black guillemot and the Greenland ssp. of white-fronted goose. Its also a long time since I've seen velvet scoter and Manx shearwater in England, albeit the latter a consequence of me not getting out seawatching enough on the NE England coast in the right conditions.
In terms of mammals, pine marten and mountain hare; perhaps surprisingly (given they occur at Teesmouth) I'm struggling to think of anywhere I've seen a harbour seal south of the border, but then I'm not much of a mammal watcher.
Agree with John though it's best to stick to a non-political Britain or British Isles list, geographic entities make the most sense!

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
It would probably halve my list, just off the top of my head, I'd lose .....

Masked Shrike
Western Sand
B-c Bee-eater
B-h Bunting
R-n Phal
Crested Tit
Forester's Tern
G-t Tattler
S-b Dowitcher
Black Stork
Yellow-browed Bunting
Golden Eagle
W-t Eagle
Snowy Owl
King Eider
Black Scoter
Harlequin Duck
Snowy Egret

and that's just a quick think........................................


Well-known member
A good thought exercise! Out of a British list of 372 I would seemingly lose 16 lifers that I have only seen in Scotland:
Cackling Goose - Dumfries
Blue Winged Teal - Threave and Frankfield Loch
Black Duck - Strontian
White-winged Scoter - Musselburgh
King Eider - Ythan
White-billed Diver - Portsoy
Capercaillie - Speyside
Ptarmigan - Cairngorms
White Tailed Eagle - Mull and Ardnamurchan
Northern Harrier - North Ronaldsay
American Coot - Loch Flemington
Crested Tit - Speyside
Sardinian Warbler - St Abb's Head
Booted Warbler - North Ronaldsay
Citrine Wagtail - North Ronaldsay
Scottish Crossbill - Speyside
And potentially a 17th in the form of Brown Shrike (Crail) depening on the verdict of the Johnny Brown's Common bird.

If we take Wales into account I would also lose:
Black Kite - Gigrin Farm

And two species I have weirdly seen in Scotland and Wales but not yet in England:
Surf Scoter - Llandulas and Musselburgh
Black Guillemot - various

JWN Andrewes

Poor Judge of Pasta.
I would lose more from Wales than Scotland, 16 in all, predictably mostly from the north.

No fewer than eight on Angelsey (Green Heron, Killdeer, Sooty & Bridled Terns, Gyrfalcon, Turkestan Shrike, Black Lark & Savi’s Warbler), Black Scoter off Llanfairfechan, Lesser Grey Shrike at Aberdaron, Hume’s Warbler at Caernarfon, Booted Warbler on the Great Orme, Rock Thrushes on Angelsey & Pwll Du, Black-headed Buntings in a farm-yard in Denbighshire and a back garden near Criccieth and Indigo Bunting & Myrtle Warbler on Ramsey Island.

An additional three species (Corncrake, Black Guillemot & Forster’s Tern) I’ve seen in Scotland & Wales, but never in England.

Missing from my original list is pure Rock Dove, but I do grudgingly count Feral Pigeon elsewhere.


Stuck in Dundee.....
I finally got Ring Necked Parakeet onto my Scottish list in Autumn 2018 which brought my life-list and my Scottish list together at last (having seen RNP while plane-spotting near Heathrow years before). However, a few trips to Northumberland since then has meant my lists diverged again to include a few birds I've only seen in England - Greenish Warbler, Little Owl, Long Billed Dowitcher (& Baikal Teal). The English ones are only on my (UK only) life-list, and obviously not on my marginally shorter Scottish list. Little Owl probably the hardest of those to get up here at some future date.


Well-known member
I'd be thinking more in terms of what species I might regain on my sadly depleted EU list - King Eider, Capercaillie, Ptarmigan, Red Grouse, Ring-billed Gull, and a few others (y)

Of course, if Northumbs seceded from Little England to (re)join Scotland & EU, that would be a huge re-gain.
Rather suspect you are the only birder alive to keep an EU list - if indeed you really do. Almost all keen birders keep a WP list and a few keep a European list though that is entirely geographic.


Well-known member
I'm struggling to remember a Black Guillemot in England now some come to mention it. Certainly seen lots in both Scotland and Ireland. Where do they occur in Wales? Might I have seen them at South Stack many years ago?

I also wonder how many Twite I've seen in England since someone mentioned it and I don't have my notebooks handy to look back on. Certainly ticked it in Northumberland, but never did find them in my home county Durham.

(Thought the Lyn Alaw Rock Thrush in June 86 was my one and only Welsh exclusive, but I've been reminded up above of Bridled Tern.)
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Users who are viewing this thread