A record February on this blog

February may be the cruellest month but February 2019 was a kind to this blog – the highest number of pageviews this blog has had in a February ever – even including leap years!

At 88,778 pageviews, this 28-day month would have been the third highest scoring month of 2018, only being beaten by the 31-day March and August.

February 2019 delivered 25% more pageviews than did February 2018.

And you are one of about 17,000 unique monthly users of this blog – the numbers go up and down quite a lot but are usually in the range 15,000 – 20,000 per month.

2016 was the busiest ever year on this blog (but February 2019 trounces February 2016 by miles in terms of numbers of readers and pageviews) but that was because our epetition to ban driven grouse shooting was running for 6 months of the year and attracted an awful lot of interest.

Still, you might find this post a little self-indulgent since you may not care how many other people are reading these posts provided that they hold your attention. Fair enough, but I don’t get feedback from all of you except in the readership figures for this blog and its nice (for me at least) to see that the readership is certainly holding up.

This blog is read by politicians (maybe fewer than in the past, I’m not sure), journalists (a lot), staff of wildlife and environmental NGOs (an awful lot), staff of statutory conservation agencies (loads – especially Natural England), campaigners of all types, people who disagree with me (in order to check up on what I am saying) and a great many wildlife enthusiasts. All are welcome.

And over 200 people have commented on this blog in February this year. Thank you to all of you. There are a lot of regular commenters (whom I value greatly – so please do not stop) but an awful lot of silent readers. And the gender balance of the readership of this blog (from previous surveys) is slightly tilted towards there being more female readers than males but the comments are tilted the other way. Don’t be shy – your comments, whoever you are, are welcome.

Looking back on February posts on this blog, I can see why it was a popular month. There were some excellent guest blogs from Derek Gow, Kerri ni Dochartaigh, Caroline Bedell, Shaun Spiers, Paul Sterry and Jack Riggall on a wide range of topics: rewilding, Curlews, shotgun cartridge recycling, a greener UK after Brexit, squashed amphibians and the Forestry Commission allowing fox hunts to use its land. Whatever you think of each of them, it’s a good range of topics. And those guest blogs were backed up by a narrative series of blogs by Ian Carter, regular images and short essays by Tim Melling and Paul Leyland and cartoons by Ralph Underhill with a range of updates and news stories. There was also the launch of Wild Justice, the revelation of the title of the forthcoming paper on Hen Harrier disappearances on grouse moors, my analysis of the Defra response to Les Wallace’s epetition, an account of Tony Juniper’s appearance in front of MPs and another of what shooters asked questions about at my talk in Preston, news of another missing Hen Harrier (this time in lowland England) and quite a lot about burning the uplands (Countryfile, NE guidance, a scientific paper).

I wonder what March will deliver? There should be that Hen Harrier paper, the result of our judicial review of brood meddling, Wild Justice’s first project and maybe the first spring migrant birds. Will we see a blizzard of snow to follow a hot February? Will Brexit happen on my birthday? Will there be more political defections? We’ll see, we’ll see.

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6 Replies to “A record February on this blog”

  1. Well done Mark! As you know I don't always agree with you 100% but its good to have one's views challenged by a knowledgeable critic now and again, it stops us all from getting complacent.

    On which note I notice that Defra/civil servants aren't listed amongst your readership, unless you've lumped them in with statutory agencies. Perhaps our suspicion that Defra is a hotbed of indifference is correct.

    Just from interest, how do you know who reads the blog? I can see how you know who comments, because they have to give you an email address, but if you work in the public sector you're probably not going to use your work email or name (I don't). And if someone doesn't comment how can you know who they are? Presumably you hear about some readers on the grapevine, from meetings or personal emails, etc, but what about the rest? Just curious!

    ps And thanks to the guests too, a good variety but all well written.

    1. Jbc - I don’t know everyone! But I know when people contact me directly about things that I have written (particularly journalists) or when somebody else tells me that so-and-so was moaning about my blog. And I know a certain amount from interactions on social media too - unless those commenting favourably or unfavourably haven’t read any of it (which sometimes feels possible).

    2. Just re-read my post and I can see it might be read two ways. Just to be clear, you're the knowledgeable critic challenging my views!

  2. It isn't (the cruellest month). March is - because as the first hints of spring are coming it in March that food for both animals and people as well reached rock bottom in the old days. It is still very much s live issue in the medieval communing of the New Forest when it is March that open forest grazed animals hit their poorest condition and the Agisters (Uk's closest to cowboys) are most alert to animals needing to be taken off the forest for supplementary feeding.

    And, of course, there can always be a sting in winter's tail during March.

    1. April is the cruellest according to T S Eliot (but as far as I know he was not an ecologist).

  3. Well I confess to being a regular and avid reader of the blog. Most mornings it is essential reading and sometimes it is disappointing that I am up and about before a new posting appears. Excellent work Mark and long may it continue.


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