Monday, 11 August 2014

Bird-a-Day rides again

In the first half of this year I posted several times about my participation in the Bird-a-Day challenge run through a group based in Florida USA.  I eventually dropped out, because of failing to add a new species. on 12 June.

There still seem to be 2 - 5 Australians in the game (depending on whether a couple of folk are just storing their posts or have dropped out) but I notice one player, from Melbourne, used European Starling a couple of days ago so he may be in the "not waving, drowning" situation.

However I decided to try an informal version, keeping my records through a spreadsheet rather than entering them in the game.  This started on 1 July, primarily to put myself in the same seasonal situation as Northern Hemisphere people starting on 1 January. It also meant I got a good start in taking advantage of a 4 week trip to Western and Northern NSW.

As I knew I was taking a trip I set up a broader based scoring system, using a report from eBird for all of NSW as the basic mechanism.  In setting the Birdaday codes I did try to estimate how unusual the bird was where seen rather than for my home (eg Gannets were common - code 2 - at Corindi but would definitely be a code 7 at Carwoola).

This graph shows the progress to date on the July series (so far, 41 days and counting).
This second chart compares the BaD codes of the July series, with the first 41 days of the January series (the index values are of different orders of magnitude which might make the comparison difficult).
Basically they are pretty similar in shape.

The July series includes a couple of lifers (woohoo!!) but Plum-headed Finch appears, from the New Atlas of Australian Birds, to be relatively common (code 3) where I saw it while the other species is very rare (so I'm not naming it in public) but is fairly regular (according to a local) where I saw it and thus gets a code 6 rather than a 7.

I have been finding a bird each day since we got home, but it has been a bit of a stretch at times.  Thus far I have only got one returning migrant species (Pallid Cuckoo).

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