A UK Mammal Year

John Wright saw an impressive 47 species of mammals in the UK last year without going for a “Big Year”.  He didn’t, for instance, count some feral species, or chase after some commoner species that ought to be quite easy.  Has anyone seen more UK mammals in a year?

Here’s his log for the year.

UK Mammals in 2017: John Wright’s account of a year’s British mammaling with 47 species including multiple OttersLeast Weasels, BeaversWater Shrews and a Humpback Whale.



  • John Dixon

    In 2013 I saw 61 species of mammal in the British Isles, my best score to date. That was an unashamed Big Year! If I understand John correctly, by feral he means Dartmoor ponies and suchlike, not the introductions that form a large part of our fauna (Rabbit, Brown Hare, Fallow and Sika Deer for instance).

    Red Fox
    Roe Deer
    Grey Squirrel
    Brown Hare
    Fallow Deer
    Wild Boar
    Bank Vole
    Brown Rat
    Red Deer
    Daubenton’s Bat
    Natterer’s Bat
    Whiskered Bat
    Chinese Water Deer
    Sika Deer
    Common Pipistrelle
    Soprano Pipistrelle
    Noctule Bat
    Nathusius’s Pipistrelle
    Serotine Bat
    Red Squirrel
    Grey Long-eared Bat
    Pygmy Shrew
    Hazel Dormouse
    Water Vole
    Grey Seal
    Common Seal
    Common Shrew
    Brown Long-eared Bat
    Barbastelle Bat
    Edible Dormouse
    Greater Horseshoe Bat
    Wood Mouse
    House Mouse
    Water Shrew
    Minke Whale
    Harbour Porpoise
    European Beaver
    Pine Marten
    Field Vole
    White-beaked Dolphin
    Risso’s Dolphin
    Black Rat
    Bottlenose Dolphin
    Feral Goat
    Mountain Hare
    Leisler’s Bat
    Common Dolphin
    Lesser Horseshoe Bat
    Harvest Mouse
    Yellow-necked Mouse

    Mark Hows may have done even better.
    In 2016 I attempted a double year-list and scored not only 53 mammal but also 304 bird species. We Brits like our year lists!

    • John Wright

      Hi John, Yes you are right personally I don’t count mammals like Dartmoor Ponies, feral goats/sheep and such like but do count Rabbits, Grey Squirrels, Muntjac, Sika Deer (but not Cairngorm Reindeers!), etc, etc. But it’s each to their own and if people do count them well fine by me. As you are a birder it’s similar to those birders who count Ireland on their “UK” life list and those that don’t – I don’t and have seen over 500 species in Britain – but those who do count Ireland again it’s ok by me. As I said my 2017 GB mammal watching wasn’t a “big year” more of what can be seen in Britain on a fairly casual basis but with a little effort put in for some species. Maybe I’ll do a big year sometime and do as well as you, Mark and Richard did. If I do I certainly would do it differently than 2017 I’d put more effort into it and travel further and not visit the same locations as much as I did in 2017 – look at my trips to Norfolk for example! I thoroughly enjoyed my GB mammal watching and will continue in 2018 – along with some very nice foreign mammal trips of course. Cheers.

  • Mark Hows

    John Dixon is correct, I got 68 also in 2013 and he was with me for quite a lot of them.
    I have also seen 50 species in the UK every year since 2008. 50 seems fairly achievable which I have probably demonstrated where as breaking 60 is quite an effort I have only managed it 3 times.

    My 2013 Photo list can be seen here




    64 in 1999 and I missed Mole, Polecat, Yellow-necked Mouse & several bats.

Leave a Reply