Gap analysis

One of the things I have been curious about is how my “life list” compares to the British list in different types of birds. I know that when it comes to pipits, warblers and buntings I’ve got a fairly big deficit because historically I’ve put these down into the category of LBJ without really putting in the effort to work out the finer details (that was the old me of course, this year I’ve made more of an effort to identify my grasshopper warblers from my reed warblers). In terms of ducks and owls though I’m doing pretty OK.

Although this is the first step and I want to add some graphics, what I’ve done for now is implement a comparison of a “life list” vs the “master list” which for the purposes of the program is the BOU list as of Dec 2010, and represent the percentage of species on the list vs my own ticks :

Ignore the figures - I'm doing much better when I get all my data in!

So what the screen shows is how many species are in each taxonomic order, how many species have been “ticked” in the database, and the percentage those ticks represent.

A slider across the top allows you to change the level of detail between Orders, Families and Genera, so the above shot shows it broken down by order. Move the slider across one notch and you’ll get it broken down by Family :

This time by Family, Showing common names

As you can see from the above shot, the lists can be shown by either scientific name or latin name.

At the moment this functionality only compares the user’s life list to the master list of species, however it would be simple enough to extend this to allow comparison of year lists so you could see if you are missing out on species that you’ve seen in previous years, or indeed to compare any two lists (perhaps a patch list vs a county list)

As mentioned above I’d like to implement some graphical representation of this kind of data – either pie charts or some kind of “progress bar” towards 100% species coverage.

Another issue that this throws up is that for me, I’m highly unlikely to ever see a Red-billed tropicbird in the UK so I’m always going to have a big fat zero in that row. Likewise while my kingfisher count sits at 1 – a meagre 50% of available species, the chances of getting to 100% by spotting a belted kingfisher ARE pretty slim, although not impossible. But… you could say that the chances of me seeing a black scoter were nil until one turned up a few miles north of me this year and stuck around long enough for me to drop by and get a view of it. So.. I don’t want to chuck the baby out with the bath water and delete species from my master list, but at the same time being realistic I really want to see my efforts compared with a “realistic” set of birds. To that end I may keep the BOU (or even the IOC) list as a master list but have some way of marking the species that are just so unlikely that they shouldn’t cloud the stats and the selection lists if I don’t want them to.

Of course for hardcore listers they will no doubt want to see a priority list showing the 7 species they are missing to complete their UK set.

Any thoughts?