Bird Monitoring Data Analyzed.
So, while we currently do not have any visitors at Santa Lucía, most of us are sitting at home. That means that - for the researchers amongst the crew - it's time to do some data cleaning and a little analysis. Since the bird monitoring data is the largest data set it's most fun to work with currently. We'll present some output of our simple analysis (mind you, there are professionals around the world busy currently analysing the same data set in depth). First of we looked at the peak numbers: Since 2008 there have been 2.410 monitoring sessions. These are the 10 minute data taking sessions at our 127 observation points. Most monitoring sessions were done by Noé Morales. Last year we used a new 128th data point when students of the University of Wolverhampton joined Noé in the monitoring and for their own analysis they needed an even number of points for one day.
There is currently a total of 38.661 valid observations. Those are individuals identified (seen or heard) of the 240 species that have been registered.
You might wonder how there are only 240 species in a twelve-year-monitoring when there are more than 400 in the Santa Lucía bird list. The bird list of course contains ALL species ever observed in Santa Lucía. This includes rare and very rare species. In time and space. First of all 127 observation points (although they cover most of our trails) are very few if you take the extension of the reserve (730ha) into account. And although 150 to 300 observation sessions per year sounds a lot it's still only two full days if those session were continuous. How little are the chances for rare birds to appear at the particular point were the particular observer is. Walking through the forest with tourists covers much much more time per year and the observers are also not restricted in their observation methodology (time of day, how long does one stay in one place, etc.)
Anyways - let's start with a simple analysis: How many species have we observed per year? Turns out that 2019 was a peak year with a 162 species. This may have several reasons: (1) it was the year with second highest effort spend on monitoring (only 2008, the first year had a bigger effort) and (2) the monitoring was stretched across the whole year (January to December) for the first time and (3) also around the clock (i.e. monitoring sessions in the afternoon), although the effect of the latter is probably low. It's of course also possible that there were more bird species in Santa Lucía last year. :)