Early morning Science

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Had half an hour to kill this morning so I took the opportunity to do some science.  My aim was to count the dispersal of Starlings from the roost again, to see if there was an increase (I had suspected thus - I think that this is my null hypothesis science fans).  Anyway, the Starlings were not that keen on rising from their slumber.  Crows, Cormorants, Ducks and Gulls are all up before the Starlings, which kind of makes the Starlings the equivalent of a bunch of stroppy avian teens. 

Interestingly there was a fair amount of Cormorant movement upriver, dribs and drabs, maximum flock size of 17 and the total that came through was 119.  My previous site high was a count of 92.  Ornithologically significant.  Top hole!

Eventually the Starlings did start to stream out from under the bridge, and in the little time that was left to me (no more than 15 minutes) I counted 2695 birds.  I would have expected them to keep coming out for at least another 20 minutes (but not so heavily) and would think that the total could be around about 3500+.

This is an increase from the previous total (which was on a longer time scale) thus proving my null hypothesis.  I'll put the 2695 count into Birdtrack I reckon, but keep 3500 as the current estimate for the site usage.

Oh yeah, there was an Egyptian Goose too.

Science - done.

Wandsworth doing right early and everything.


Jonathan Lethbridge said...

Frankly I'd be amazed if some kind of heavy-weight prize for learning doesn't arrive on your doorstep in the next fortnight.

Anonymous said...

Is there a technique for counting a huge number of birds?

Jonathan Lethbridge said...

Yes. 1, 2, 3, 10, 20, oh what the heck, call it a hundred.

Parus said...

Funnily enough, all the flocks of birds I ever see are a nice round number in size. Probably because I prefer the "right, that lot there is about 100, so the whole lot is... erm... several lots of that... er, about 1200, that'll do" method.

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