Wednesday, 11 January 2012

BIRDRACE 2012: The Results and some Analysis

I've had the full results through for the Yorkshire-wide Bird Race from last Sunday. Surprisingly our team (York LDV Birders) came third overall (joint with the York Heslington team) - I really didn't expect that! We could so easily have come second too... but first the results table:

Scarborough 102
Barnsley Listers 92
York LDV Birders 90
York Hesslington 90
Barnsley OAPs 86
The Goolies 84
Spurn OAPs 78
Flamborough 2 73
York Originals 73
Fairburn No-hopers 71
Filey Yodellers 69
Filey Originals 61
Yorkshire Dales Flyers 51
Harrogate Drinking Team 50

Well done to everyone, hopefully some decent money raised too. Its all for fun of course, but here's why I think we could have come second. Of course every team will have feelings of, if only... here's ours...

The birds we missed. Redshank, Little Owl and Grey Wagtail are the big three, we have good sites for all of these and it was a real surprise/disappointment we didn't get them. Two of our team heard Grey Wagtail but the other two (of which I am one) missed it! All of our Little Owl sites drew blanks and the Redshank that have been glued to the spot at Wheldrake for the last 2 weeks were nowhere to be seen whilst we were there! Interestingly the other 2 York teams failed to connect with Grey Wagtail too, so fortunately this dip was not as costly as it should have been!

What about the 'nearlys'. Well, while we were making our way to pick John up at Bank Island, (after his blow out on the A1) he enjoyed watching (in addition to a very showy Grey Wagtail) a Marsh Harrier (none of the other York teams recorded this species), however when we got to him there was no sign of the bird. Egyptian Goose. Two members of our team heard one calling briefly, however we couldn't pin-point it and so was not heard by anyone else in our team, interestingly [at least] one of the York Heslington team, who were also at this location at the same time as us (independent) heard this species calling too!

Unfortunately we ran out of time to connect with Twite and there was also a couple of Waxwing reported at Bubwith (news made it out after dark so these were not available). The potential Rough-legged Buzzard has been observed well this week, it is only a Common Buzzard - I'll try and get some pictures up here next week to show you how good it did look!

In addition to our 90 species recorded, the above (Little Owl, Grey Wagtail, Redshank, Twite, Waxwing) - in addition to the species York Heslington/York Originals recorded that we didn't (Red Kite, Merlin, Oystercatcher, Green Woodpecker, Jack Snipe and Common Crossbill) would mean that at least 101 species were available within the York area on Sunday... How many else were lurking out there, surely (based on local knowledge) Brambling, Blackcap, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Long-eared Owl, Green Sandpiper, White-fronted Goose, Iceland Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Glaucous Gull, Mediterranean Gull were all about but just not evident... that takes it to a possible 111!!! In the York area!!!

So all in all, 100 species has to be feasible. Next year...

Since my original report Tim has written up York Heslington's day,and Jono has written up another take on our day - with some pictures (sorry Jono, didn't know you were hungry!!!), interestingly entitled Part One... Whats to come next.....?

Little Owl c/o Chris Gomersall


  1. You have a very nice selection down there - especially so for an inland location in January !

  2. Thanks Stevie, yes it comes as a bit of a surprise when you actually sit down and think about it! I'm sure there are other species I've not thought about too, like Hawfinch and Goshawk to name two...