Thursday, 21 November 2013

18th - 21st Nov - Busy week

So this week has been mainly dissertation focused, with a lot of Microsoft Excel, screens and little outside work. So far I've sifted through 13700+ ringing records, from the SCAN ringing group, and changed 425 reringed birds back to their original ring numbers. Only 220 to go!

Just 2 of the 7 pages of data I've changed so far.
I have to write down the numbers that need changing so I can keep a track of things and make notes on tricky cases ie. If rings have been too badly worn to get a full ring read.

This is only for an undergraduate dissertation, so I'm really starting to feel for, and appreciate, the amount of work the data analyst at the BTO must do. They must have a nightmarish and unending job! Finding the 1 in 1000 record that is inaccurate and figuring out how to change it is a crazy task! I'm only looking at 30 years worth of Oystercatcher data from one ringing group; can't imagine doing it for all the British species, from all the ringing groups across the country!

As you can imagine, this becomes a little tedious after a while. When it gets to the point where I'm struggling to tell the difference between 2's and 5's, I take a break. For the last couple of days these breaks have been filled with setting up the new Bangor University Birding club.
As the BTO student ambassador, I want to encourage as many students as possible to get out birding. Whether this be finding rarities, learning the songs of common birds, learning the difference between a Blue Tit and Great Tit or just coming out to enjoy the bird song, I don't care. I just want to get people out, and get them appreciating birds. The group got 32 new members in the first 6 hours and I've already got people signing up to trying cannon netting, WeBS counts and full day birding trips.

A Focus On Nature has already set up a University Birdwatching Challenge which encourages students to BirdTrack all the birds they see within the university grounds. I'm going to use the group as a platform to get as many people involved in this challenge as possible. I'm not expecting mega uptake, but 4 or 5 regular contributors will put us high in the league tables, and hopefully be enough to encourage more to join in.

I'm currently in the process of setting the boundaries of this challenge and organising a uni bird race to kick start the whole project.

I've also managed to fit in several lectures and a great Bangor Bird Group talk as well...can't miss the important things!

I'm now looking forward to an outdoorsey weekend with a couple of mist netting sessions and a woodcock lamping night with Chris. I've spent far too much time indoors this week and feel like I'm missing this beautiful autumn.

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