There will be a number of birding listers who are currently salivating with the expectation of New Years Day lifers. You see, they will be guaranteed British ticks on that date, regardless of whether they go out birding or not. Because it is then that the British Ornithologists' Union (BOU) adopts the International Ornithological Congress (IOC) World bird list - and with that comes a handful of taxonomical splits that are not currently recognised here in Britain.
Isabelline (Lanius isabellinus) and Red-tailed Shrikes (L phoenicuruides) are to be considered separate species, as will Taiga Bean (Anser fablis) and Tundra Bean Goose (A rossicus). Fea's Petrel (Pterodroma feae) loses its umbilical chord to Desertas Petrel (P deserta) and Thayer's Gull (Larus thayeri) is cut adrift from Iceland Gull (L glaucoides).
Want more? Well here you go then - Two-barred Warbler will no longer be lumped with Greenish; Eastern Yellow Wagtail and Stejneger's Stonechat will no longer be considered to be just sub-species dross; and the Rye Harbour Least Tern is finally tickable (much to the delight of a band of old timers).
There are reversals however. Our very own Lesser Redpoll no longer exists - it's just either Common or Arctic now. And if you rushed down to Pagham Harbour for that Hudsonian Whimbrel then you wasted your petrol money. Of course, the UK400 Club (the birding equivalent of the Tooting Popular Front) had already split most of this lot off years ago...
If you play the listing game then you need to abide by the rules (whatever set of rules you may adhere to - in some cases at least two sets!) Me? I'm a keeper of many lists, but I maintain them for my own entertainment and do not chase them. It's more relaxing that way. So I will gain a couple of species and lose one - if, indeed I decide to adopt the splits. I may even start my own UK300 club, where you can tick and split what you like, when you like. Any takers?