Coding, Recording and Reviewing

24 Oct

With the evenings drawing in, and the 12 month anniversary of my starting to keep a casual list of sightings getting ever closer (1st Nov) I’ve picked up the cudgels again on my project to write recording software to keep my records.

I’ve had something of a hiatus on the project as issues with work (software development is my day job so sometimes the last thing I want to do is get home from work and start writing code!) and the process of actually getting out and enjoying nature rather than recording it; but the last couple of weeks I’ve started to get back into the coding process.

I’m now up to the point that I have a slick method for entering records (easy to pick species by common name, scientific name or select them from a taxonomic tree of species) which for me is most of the battle, logging the data and now I’m looking at the reporting aspect to draw some meaningful overview of the data – graphs of species sighting over a year, site summaries etc – which will start to bring things to life.

This is the first time I’ve started to take an analytical view of what I’ve been viewing over the year (not to mention not just lumping LBJs together) and now with 12 months data I’m looking forward to comparing next year with this one in terms of when winter visitors arrive and leave etc, as well as this being my 2nd year in Northumberland. This year seemed anectdotally that a lot of arrivals were earlier than I had expected so I’m looking forward to seeing how my observations of the year ahead bear this out.

Of course real analysis relies on a lot more rigour than just ad-hoc reports but I’ve now got at least a baseline to work with.

I’ve already done some of the frivolities such as implementing RSS feeds so I can keep track of the NTBC sightings from within the comfort of the application, and one of the things on my agenda is to incorporate links to blogs so that again this can be done from within the same program, and possibly also a feed of posts from sites like Birdforum.

Also on the agenda – creating integration/migration paths to and from my own database to common data formats such as eBirder, mapping, and increasingly likely – an Android app to integrate with the desktop version.

Anyhow… details and screenshots of progress can be found at my sister blog ( and at some point soon there will be a download link if people want to try it out for themselves.

Oh yes, and today I saw the following :

  • Common Seal (Blyth Harbour)
  • Guillemot (Blyth Harbour)
  • Lots of Golden Plover (St Mary’s Island)

and precious little else bar assorted gulls.



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