"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!