Sunday, January 03, 2010

The lack of power of my prophecy

 So a while back I prophecised as to my next 10 island ticks. I predicted I'd see the following:
  1. Pintail
  2. Hen Harrier
  3. Short Eared Owl
  4. Goldcrest
  5. Firecrest
  6. Brambling
  7. Mediterranean Gull
  8. Woodcock
  9. Knot
  10. Great Crested Grebe
Since then I've bagged 10 more island ticks. They were:
  1. White-fronted goose
  2. Back-throated Diver
  3. Great Northern Diver
  4. Chiffchaff
  5. Firecrest
  6. Goldeneye
  7. Great Crested Grebe
  8. Pochard
  9. Waxwing
  10. Cattle Egret
Which means I hit 2/10. I should've predicted at least one of the divers and waxwing was pretty predictable once the weather hit oop north in mid-december. Cattle Egret and Pochard were both givens sooner or later but came sooner than I perhaps anticipated. Goldeneye and White-fronted goose are both rather more out of the ordinary here than on the mainland so were perhaps unpredictable.

In light of a) the colossal failure of the last set of picks and b) the tickfest that it precipitated, I've decided to repeat the exercise for another ten and see if I can do better. Interestingly I can now do so with some assistance. The BUBO listing website can now produces a target list of species most likely to occur in your region based on how many other listers in your region have seen birds you haven't. According to BUBO I should be expecting:

  1. Red-legged Partridge,
  2. Eurasian Hobby,
  3. Curlew Sandpiper,
  4. Purple Sandpiper,
  5. Common Tern
  6. European Turtle Dove
  7. Whinchat
  8. Cetti's Warbler
  9. Sedge Warbler
  10. Blackcap
  11. Dartford Warbler
  12. Goldcrest
  13. Common Bullfinch
 But am I? Not exactly. This is my predicted next 10 and why:
  1. Goldcrest - plenty around if I can just clap eyes on one.
  2. Brambling - sooner or later one of these chaffinches I'm grilling will be a brambling.
  3. Mediterranean Gull - sooner or later one of these black-headed gulls I'm grilling will be a med-gull.
  4. Woodcock - cold weather should push these south soonish. My dad has been seeing quite a few already.
  5. Long-tailed duck - as I write this, there is a long-staying drake in one of the coastal bays. Today I realised the reason I keep dipping it is because I've been looking in the wrong bay. Hopefully this essential revision to my twitching plan of attack should yield results.
  6. Curlew Sandpiper - BUBO is right, statistically I should hit one of these soonish.
  7. Purple Sandpiper- see Curlew sand.
  8. Common Tern - I have no idea why this isn't on my list yet.
  9. Blackcap - this wiill require some focus on my part, being small and a bit drab but is very doable.
  10. Slavonian Grebe - now that I love seawatching so much I'm bound to get one of these!
I've left out the summery birds from the BUBO list as I reckon I'll get these 10 pretty quick. Red-legged partridge are put down by shoots and I don't think they are as common as they used to be so that could turn into a blocker. Keep tuning in to see how wrong I turn out to be for the next 10.

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