I'd like to second Jill's comments about the benefits of keeping a chart or
some other record of local bird sightings in a systematic way.
It's easy to assume that one has a good feel for what is going on around
about, but it's very hard to retain all this knowledge in an organised way
in our personal cranium-based storage and retrieval systems. Personally, I
know that I need some extra RAM, but the technology isn't here - yet.
I maintain, not a spread-sheet, but an Access database of all our bird
records. The result is much the same. As a consequence of doing this over
the last dozen or so years, we have been presented with summarised
information about our own sightings here that we might not have otherwise
put together successfully. To give a particular example, Michael Atzeni
asked me a while back about the status of Little Eagles here - were they
primarily winter visitors? Oh, I didn't think so - then I looked at the
printout from 12 years of records at Abberton, and I found that Little
Eagles had been entirely winter visitors during that time - likewise Grey
Fantails. Seasonally-oriented information has emerged about Spangled
Drongos, Golden Whistlers, and quite a few other species. Much of this stuff
that I might never have just picked up or communicated anecdotally.
This year, we worried about our everpresent Speckled Warblers when they
disappeared during November and December. I was very inclined to shoot
neighbouring cats and dogs - entirely convinced that they had eaten our
resident Speckled Warblers. Then I found that our monthly records showed
that we had seen Speckled Warblers in every month of the year for the last
several years - excepting November and December! (I do recognise that this
is not necessarily an argument against shooting the neighbouring cats and
dogs - I accept the principle wholeheartedly, but find the practice rather
difficult to accept, probably a weakness on my part rather than a strength).
Anyway, if you're an Excel person, please accept Jill's offer. Or, if by
chance, you're an Access person, I'd be happy to send you a copy of my
Access database with the full Christidis & Boles Australian list (or the
Sibley & Monroe world list) with Atlas numbers appended.
Yes, referring back to earlier discussions - I'm an electronic atlasser.
Can't wait for the programme to accept longer lists.
Lockyer Valley, Queensland.
Visit our website at http://www.abberton.org <http://www.abberton.org>
Ph: (+61) 7 4697 6111 Fax: (+61) 7 4697 6056