Friday, 10 December 2010

A visit to my patch wasn't possible today, apart from the walk home from work, where I saw 9 LAPWING on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley.

Later this afternoon, I had a look through the years sightings from my patch. I like to compare years to see how the birds are faring in the countryside, after all my patch is a standard piece of farmland/residential area for Kent, and so represents a snapshot of whats going on.

The species that has declined most in sightings, year on year, is the YELLOWHAMMER, last year I recorded it on 79% of visits, but this year it has been seen just 56% of visits ( figures for Full Patch Visits Only, of which 120 are carried out each year).

It's a better story for the LESSER REDPOLL which has been sighted more often, it has gone up from 11% last year to 16% this. Also increasing in sightings is the TAWNY OWL, it was recorded on just 2% of visits last year but 7% so far this year.

I have comparable figures for each species, but wont go through them all here. A quick summary would be to say, of the 110 species seen so far this year 17 have been recorded on every visit, which was the same figure as last year, on the other end of the scale 21 of those species were seen just once ( again these are only Full Patch Walk Figures).

Year on year I have increased my yearly species counts, but the early years had far fewer shorter visits due to me working full time. Here are the years counts:

2002 - 89, 2003 - 89, 2004 - 92, 2005 - 93, 2006 - 98, 2007 - 99, 2008 - 106, 2009 - 109, this year 110 so far.

Also interesting is the average number of species seen per month for each year, this has risen from 57.6 species in 2002, to 68.9 species this year.

To improve on these totals will become very difficult now, and I think the figures will level off after this year.

Well, sorry for the stat based post today - normal service will be resumed tomorrow, However more Christmas interruptions will occur next week :-(


Monika said...

I like statistics like this myself, so I found all your numbers very interesting!

I know you aim for 120 full walks each year, but do you think an increased effort on the partial walks accounts for the increased annual species total every year?

Warren Baker said...

Without doubt it is the increased afternoon partial walks that has accounted for a large part of the yearly species increase. However, getting to know my patch better over the years has also helped, I now know where to look and at what time of year.

Phil said...

Interesting stuff Warren. Your results would make an interesting debate! I think getting to know the patch must make a big difference to species found each month.

Warren Baker said...

Getting to know your patch thoroughly pays :-)

It took me a coule of years to realise that ''Migrant Alley'' was the only place on my patch to find the passage migrants, Wheatear, Whinchat, Stonechat, Yellow wagtail, etc..

Marc Heath said...

Some interesting stuff there Warren. The thrill of keeping patch data, it never gets boring.

Bob Bushell said...

Good data Warren. Best one of 2010.

Pete Woodruff said...


No need for apology here. I'd like to compliment you on your statistical records which are highly commendable in my view, not just a bird watcher but statistician too....Excellent stuff, and your blog visitors/supporters like it too, very rewarding for you in an all round way.

Anonymous said...

Yep, your patch stats are just as interesting as the birds themselves, Warren. Keep at it mate.

Derek Faulkner said...


As you know, stats are not my cup of tea, I find them boring as hell - however, it seems a shame to waste your efforts and enthusiasm, why not share them via an aricle in the KOS Newsletter or even a presentation at a meeting.

ShySongbird said...

It takes real dedication to keep detailed records like that Warren and as ever I admire you for that.

We have a disused railway track here which used to have lots of Yellowhammers in the adjoining trees and hedges, they were a very common sight and sound for some years but lately there is no sign of them at all.

Christmas interruptions are a pain ;)

The Early Birder said...

Excellent stuff Warren. There's no doubt that your dedicated patch knowledge has definitely helped you to compile this detailed data. Analysing the results is of course another story. FAB.