Sunday, 14 December 2014

Garden bird quiz results

Just over a week ago, I asked a question on this blog based on the identity of the birds visiting Tense Towers.

"Which eleven species were seen by us in our Milton Keynes garden during the winter of 2012/13 and also in our Orcadian garden during the Spring, Summer and Autumn 2014?"

As I admitted at the time, it wasn't hugely scientific, but it did set an interesting challenge. Three readers accepted the mission to ID the eleven species and I thank them all for the time and effort that they put into the task.

In a time-honoured procedure, I will now pointlessly build in 'tension' and 'drama' by offering up some thoughts on the quiz before finally revealing the answers and the winner.

Interestingly (at least for me!), the three contestants are very different in several respects:
  • knowledge of the site(s) - one had not visited either, one had visited only MK and one had visited both;
  • knowledge of wildlife - this ranged from casual interest, through professional interest (but not particularly for birds), to professional interest (with more affinity for birds).
That said, the spread of results was small, only 2 points separating first and last, which either goes to show that it was a bonkers question in the first place or, as pointed out previously, it isn't very scientific.

So, "Jolly Well Done!" to all participants!

The incorrect answers received were:
  • Blue Tit (resident MK only) - rare in Orkney;
  • Great Tit (resident MK only) - rare in Orkney;
  • Coal Tit (resident MK only) - has bred in Orkney in the past;
  • Wood Pigeon (resident in MK and Orkney) - but not seen at OTT;
  • Collared Dove (resident in MK and Orkney) - but not seen at OTT;
  • Magpie (resident in MK only) - rare in Orkney;
  • Jay (resident in MK only) - very rare in Orkney;
  • Pied Wagtail (Winter visitor to MK garden, Summer visitor to Orkney garden) - however, crucially, during the MK survey it was not recorded;
  • Grey Wagtail (occasional Winter visitor to MK garden) - rare in Orkney;
  • Song Thrush (resident in MK, does breed in Orkney) - but not seen at OTT;
  • Dunnock (resident in MK, does breed in Orkney) - but not seen at OTT;
  • Reed Bunting (resident in MK, does breed in Orkney) - but not seen at OTT.
OK, the correct answers are:

  • Four species ID'd by all contestants - Starling, Blackbird, House Sparrow and Chaffinch (though for our Orkney garden, the latter was only 3 birds on Autumn migration:
  • One species ID'd by two contestants - Robin (seen more during Spring and Autumn migration in Orkney);
  • Two species ID'd by only one contestant (but not the same contestant in each case) - Blackcap and Greenfinch (the former on Autumn migration in our Orkney garden, but overwintering in the MK one, the latter present throughout);
  • Four species not ID'd - Goldfinch, Wren, Sparrowhawk and Goldcrest (the two 'goldies' being Autumn migrants in our Orkney garden, but with only the 'crest a migrant or overwintering bird in the MK one). The Wren was as elusive in Orkney as MK, but seen occasionally. Sparrowhawks just like to be where there's loads of finches, I guess.
And the winner?

Well, there was a tie for first place, with 6 correct answers.

But I think I'm going to reward all participants with a calendar, for entering into the spirit of the thing and spending some time thinking about Nature.

A 2015 calendar, featuring twelve images from this blog during the past year, will soon be on its way to each of you, Martin, Martin and John!


Spadger said...

Hoorah! The suspenders were killing me!😊

Martin Bayley said...

Wow, getting a prize is a new experience for me, so thank you so much.
I enjoyed the quiz, I was suprised with the Goldfinch and Goldcrest.

Thanks again

Best wishes to you and the family for the coming festivities.....managed to avoid the C word !!


Martin....1 or 2 ?

Imperfect and Tense said...

Martin, re Goldcrest, not as surprised as I was!

Martin said...

Thanks for the fun (and of course the prize :) ). I wish to note that Sparrowhawk and Goldfinch were on the reserve list, but I'd completely forgotten about Wren and wouldn't have considered the Goldcrest through lack of Orcadian trees...

Martin 2,
Naturally challenged.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Despite the lack of trees, I didn't record any Cnidaria, either :o(

Martin said...

I think Cnidaria jellyfish could only make an appearance in both gardens in dried form, to fertilise the gardens, and winter is not a good time for jellies. More likely would be the political jellyfish species, but again for this to appear across a range of latitudes would require some luck or persuasion.