Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Records and recording. 9.4.2012.

A day of several parts (just like the weather turned out to be ) due to differing commitments, but it turned out to cater for both active and "passive" birding in the end.

Some time ago I decided I would attempt to maintain the Mother of all bird recording systems, both as something of interest and as an investment for future, when trips etc can be pored over and enjoyed anew. Whilst all of us have kept diaries or logbooks of one kind or another, and with varying success (me!), I decided I'd put some real effort this time into linking such a record into both printed and computer facilities too. I guess some people do this already and, doubtless, there are all sorts of combinations at play out there. Believe me, they are to be much respected!

Thankfully I'm a fairly neat writer so I can usually cheat and compile a logbook whilst out in the field and add in all the summarised detail at the end of the day, plus personal bits and pieces. The trick is to ensure I don't lose it and to keep it dry!  Dog eared is allowed.

Out of sheer enjoyment I also mark up a copy of Clement's World List ( "The Clements CheckList of the Birds of the World",  Sixth Edition, Christopher Helm, London, 2007 ) merely so I can browse through the seemingly endless pages of bird names and see what I've seen and where. It's also a good spur to deciding where to go next. I started this around ten years ago, as a lot of my records from earlier years had been destroyed,  so it gave me the excuse for beginning all over again.  I link that now by entering lists for World , UK, other countries  and the calendar year into BUBO  (www.bubo.org )  which conveniently tallies up totals and presents your details in "league table " format.  It's fun and I can recommend it to everyone as it can be used by those overseas as well as in the UK. The more participants, the better it will be.

Finally I put my records (now ) into Bird Base / Bird Area produced by SBSP as there are many useful facilities within its make up that allow you, for example, to determine what, of the species you haven't seen, will occur within a given area you're visiting. There's more than a bit of catch up to indulge in on this one but, again, it should be fun. Once started I've found the easiest way is to enter the records regularly , which takes no time at all.

Now comes the admission! Why have I decided to lay all this out on the Blog?  Well, in a strategy as complicated as any contained within the "cunning plans" in Black Adder, I figured that,  if I made all this public, it would be the best way of sustaining its completion. Mega logic! All I need now is for someone to ask the obvious question in a years time and I can then either smugly confirm I'm up to date , or publicly declare that the whole thing fell into disarray ( that's one to avoid surely).

Birding locally in the afternoon showed the Fiedfare flock still hanging on, although the odd Redwings appear to have left. Local Wheatears appear not to be in the usual numbers yet, but Meadow Pipits are more numerous than last year. Later I set off to complete another vigil trying to find Long-eared Owl , which I remain convinced is present on Islay but overlooked.   I wasn't successful!!

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