Monday, 11 January 2016

Bird-a-day 2016 goes for a canter

After a fairly successful effort in 2015 the 2016 version of Bird-a-day has kicked off.  It is interesting that the game which was started in Florida, USA now has a lot of Australian players.  Possibly this recognises that the two countries have enough biodiversity to make it feasible to keep going for a good while without too much travel.

Of course, if travel - for work or pleasure - is already planned that is a help.

So we are now 11 days into it and I am going pretty well.  This was assisted by a visit to the (now) famous Wollumboola Lake near Nowra on 2 January where I found myself faced with the choice between two Code 7 birds in Hudsonian Godwit and Paradise Shelduck.  I went for the duck, as someone else had logged the Hudwit on January 1.

I have also recorded an Australian Figbird which would be a Code 7 in the Canberra area, but this was lurking in a monstrous Moreton Bay Fig in Wentworth Park Glebe where they are bog-common throughout Summer.  Thus being kind to myself I gave it Code 2.

On glancing at my records for the 11 days I find I have logged 3 raptors and 4 Cuckoos.  The latest of the Cuckoos was a Koel (Common, Eastern, Pacific or Australian - who can keep up with the forces of evil?) which, like John Peel's horn, woke me from my bed at 0330 this morning.  Fortunately it was just passing by and I went back to sleep more or less immediately.

As seems to be the case this year - see three paragraphs up - "good birds" are hunting in packs.  Later in the morning I spotted a New Holland Honeyeater ....

- a once a year bird here - in one bit of the garden and a Rufous Fantail - once every 2 or 3 years - was seen by Frances at the Kitchen Birdbath.

The New Holland was polite enough to return - with a mate - the next day so has been counted as bird 12.

Despite the Birdaday Codes ranging from 2 to 7 the eBird based scores have been much less variable with only two birds scoring over 40 (and the scale runs from 0 (the Paradise Shelduck) to 582 (Australian Magpie)).  I was surprised to find that Pallid Cuckoo only rated 7.5 - they are pretty much a constant sound of Summer in this area.

My main objective is to get into July, as we have a 6 week trip planned which should get another 40+ birds!

Although the game is just that, and not directly citizen science as such, I hope all the players are reporting their sightings, especially the less common birds allocated code 5 and above to somewhere (eg eBird) that makes them available for research purposes.  By way of example of the issues that arise by not doing so, in discussion of the Paradise Shelduck on birding-aus, including the linked post, a couple of historic sightings have been reported which are not included in HANZAB.

No comments: