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   Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus) - RTPI (recent eBird sightings, view CBRC records, range map
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  1. Re: [CALBIRDS] Are Regional/County Listservs Still Relevant? [a bit long] LINK
    DATE: Jan 16, 2018 @ 7:15pm, 4 month(s) ago
    While I was living in Ohio a few years ago there was some concern that the Birding Ohio facebook group was competing with the state listserv. 
    
    I compared some data from the Facebook group with the monthly number of posts to the listserv, and looking over a few years of those data it appeared that (at the time) the listserv activity was chugging along at a pretty steady pace:
    
    https://mostlybirds.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/too-many-birding-forums-in-ohio/
    
    After discussing those results with others, we largely concluded that the Facebook group wasn't competing so much as it was just additional information. Good in that more birds were being reported, but bad in that we could no longer turn to just one resource to monitor those reports. 
    
    In CO, the birding community has come up with a nice partial solution: two organizations "sponsor" (I'm unclear on what that means, exactly) someone to to do regular (daily!) compilations of rarities reported to the list, eBird etc. and submit summaries to the state listserv, CObirds. 
    
    Aggregating information is tricky, but probably the way to go if the problem is that information is scattered across multiple communication platforms. Guiding people towards using these different outlets properly is also a great idea, as others have mentioned, to keep up the quality of that information.
    
    Good birding,
    Paul Hurtado
    Reno, NV
    
    On Jan 12, 2018 2:18 PM, "Paul Lehman lehman.paul@... [CALBIRDS]" < CALBIRDS-noreply@yahoogroups.com > wrote:
    
      It is pretty obvious that over the past few
    years that many
    of the local/county/regional/state listservs have become less
    and less relevant
    to a large number of birders, as many of these people have voted
    with their
    feet….er, fingertips….and moved over to other sites such as
    eBird. Not only
    that, but bird information dissemination appears to have become
    MORE fragmented
    as time goes on, rather than less fragmented. We now have the
    local listservs,
    eBird, WhatsApp/GroupMe text messaging groups, Facebookindividual and group
    sites, personal Flickr sites, personal and private-group text
    messaging, and
    even a handful of old-school folks who actually still call their
    friends on the
    phone! Some of these services are SUPPPOSED to complement each
    other, e.g., a
    text-message group that is supposed to be used for immediate
    dissemination of high-end
    rarity information only, and folks are supposed to post to it
    AND to the local
    listserv in a timely manner, but instead the former is used
    almost exclusively
    and often for more standard bird fare, so the general listserv
    gets only some
    scraps, if anything. Using my home-county listserv here in San
    Diego as an
    example, the number of local birders who now rarely if ever post
    to
    SanDiegoRegionBirding has grown steadily. Most of these folks
    still happily get
    information from such sources, but rarely, if ever, post to it.
    But a good
    number of these people do submit eBird reports on a regular
    basis instead.   Why only
    to one Is it the ease of eBird
    submissions Is it the instantaneous reporting from the field
    (But that is
    also easy to do to a local listserv with any smartphone.) Is it
    that they can
    easily attach their photos to their eBird reports Is there a
    widespread belief
    that posting rarity news only to eBird is “enough”   Or for some, are they timid
    to post publicly,
    or just lazy, or simply don’t care to give back to a listserv
    from which they
    got information allowing them to see a rare bird Whatever the
    reason, recent
    checks on many days since mid-December of the number of posts to
    the San Diego listserv
    versus the number of county “rarity” alerts coming through eBird
    is something
    on the magnitude of 1 to 20 or 30 (albeit somewhat skewed by the
    numbers of
    out-of-town Nazca Booby viewers and local-birder 2018 “big year”
    kickoffs, and
    by the potential for multiple rarities mentioned per a single
    listserv post but
    only one species per eBird alert). A little of this dichotomy
    can be explained
    by the fact that some birds such as a semi-tame,
    multi-year-staying Greater
    White-fronted Goose at a local lake still appears daily on the
    eBird rare-bird
    alert—given that it is a flagged species—but that virtually
    nobody would dream
    of posting its continued existence on a regular basis on the
    county listserv.
    Or, over the past few weeks, the continued presence of Nazca
    Boobies, a
    wintering Red-throated Pipit, and many other regional and
    state-level rarities
    locally, has drawn an especially large number of California
    birders from out of
    town as well as many out-of-state birders—few of whom have
    posting privileges
    to the San Diego listserv, but almost all of them can post to
    eBird. In most areas, eBird has become the best way
    to keep track,
    on an almost daily basis, of the continued presence of existing
    rarities. (With
    the caveat that some such reports are erroneous, as they are
    through any
    source, and folks should be careful following up on some such
    reports,
    especially when made many days after anyone else has reported
    seeing the bird.
    Even when some folks are chasing known birds at known locations,
    they can mess
    it up. Posted photos of misidentified stakeouts are not overly
    rare, and the
    number of such erroneous reports without photos are likely even
    greater. Just recently,
    for example, a friend of mine from out-of-state, after seeing
    Nazca Booby here,
    drove up to Santa Maria to see the tame Garganey. He was greeted
    there by a birding
    couple, also from out of state and chasing the same birds, who
    proudly pointed
    out the bird to him: a female Northern Pintail. He quickly
    showed them the real
    Garganey. But, the bottom line is, don’t underestimate the
    ability of some
    observers to misidentify even known stakeouts.  
    But I digress…) Are eBird reports also good at giving the
    needed background
    information on how to FIND these stakeout rarities Sometimes
    yes, sometimes
    no. A dropped pin at a hotspot may or may not signify a specific
    spot or may
    just denote the location of a large park or marsh where the bird
    is. Some
    observers add in exact lat/long information, but many do not.
    Also, because
    many human beings (including many birders) are geographically
    challenged, many
    locations they give in their eBird submissions are MIS-STATED or
    MIS-PLOTTED,
    which is one potentially serious problem with using eBird data
    in a number of
    ways in general. But even if the general location is indeed
    correct, the included
    comments (if any) may say little about the specific tree(s) a
    bird is
    frequenting, or the best time of day it might be seen there,
    origin
    questionable issues, or information about possible legal access
    issues, etc. These
    specifics, which can be very important, are often best imparted
    through posts
    to the local listservs. Just in the past couple weeks, such was
    the case here
    in San Diego County with a couple good posts to the listserv
    dealing with
    private property issues and homeowner and birder behavior
    involving the Ramona
    Harris’s Hawk.. Does one need to post an update on everycontinuing rarity
    every single day on a local listserv No, although regular
    updates on high-end
    and just-recently-found rarities are very helpful, and then
    periodic (weekly) updates
    that such-and-such long-staying or returning rarity is still
    present is also
    helpful to other birders. But few local birders supply that
    information.
    Recently here in San Diego, there have been MULTIPLE DAILY eBird
    updates on
    Nazca Booby, Red-throated Pipit, Greater Pewee, Thick-billed
    Kingbird and
    Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Harris’s Hawk, Tricolored Herons,
    Nestor Park birds,
    etc. etc. etc., and almost nothing on these birds for well over
    a week or more on
    SanDiegoRegionBirding. Nothing. The question then becomes: “Does
    it matter” Looking at the broad birding community, some
    birders spend
    almost their entire birding lives chasing stakeouts found by
    other people. If
    that’s what they like doing, then great. Some (but far fewer)
    birders hate
    chasing “other people’s birds,” very rarely do it, but spend
    almost all their
    time doing “their own” birding. That’s great, too!   And most of us birders are
    at some point in
    the continuum between these two extremes. But the bottom line
    is, a relatively
    small number of birders find a relatively large percentage of
    the rare birds.
    And many birders do spend much of their birding time chasing
    previously found
    birds. So, what can this large group of chasers contribute
    Perhaps
    rarity-status update information (BOTH positive and negative) if
    they see that such
    updates have not been made in “a reasonable time period,” or
    perhaps any news
    on changes in a bird’s preferred exact site or timing of
    appearance during the
    day .
    M aybe include a bit more information
    than the
    standard "continuing bird" Include maybe where and when the
    continuing bird was seen if possibly different from “usual.”
    And if the report
    substantially extends the date-span, then ideally including
    some comment about
    how it was identified, or a photo.  Some eBird reviewers
    avoid confirming
    late reports of continuing rarities without at least some
    documentation, given
    that some birds are reported long after they actually
    departed. If folks use only eBird for their rare-bird
    chasing bird
    info, and then submit only to eBird, then fine. If they do
    likewise only via
    some texting or Facebook group, fine! But if they routinely use
    a local
    listserv to get their “chase” information, see the bird, and
    then rarely or
    never return the favor to birders following behind them—be it
    for reasons of
    laziness, cluelessness, or simply self-centeredness—then this
    does seem just a
    wee bit galling to those birders who are finding and sharing. Perhaps most birders are perfectly happy with
    the quality
    and speed (i.e., efficiency) of the rare-bird information they
    receive and
    think that my concerns are unfounded and mostly merely tilting
    at windmills.
    Others may sympathize fully. In any case, at least I got to
    vent! --Paul Lehman,  
    San
    Diego  
  2. -back to top-
  3. Re: [CALBIRDS] Are Regional/County Listservs Still Relevant? LINK
    DATE: Jan 15, 2018 @ 8:22pm, 4 month(s) ago
    1. Chuck so perfectly stated what I have wanted to write, that I won't duplicate his effort.
    2. There are a lot of people--and this is not age-related--who just don't want to use/be on eBird.
    3. eBird is powerful, there are a lot of good things about it, but it is also too much, overwhelming, etc.
    4. My job randomly sends me to Tennessee, so instead of unsubscribing and re-subscribing whenever I have a trip coming up, I just stay subscribed. I can tell my the subject lines of their emails if I want to read them, or not. The subject lines, alone, give me an idea of what's expected, and what's rare for Tennessee.
    5. Same goes for the fact that I remain subscribed to the two states' email listserves for my neighbors: Arizona and Nevada. If I lived up north, I would be subscribed to the Oregon list.
    If it was only about data, or Big Data, then scientists would never have conferences where they get together at a convention center.
    
    Tom Miko  (boo, hiss)
    Claremont
    "City of Trees" (I am allergic to trees; my mother had me tested.)
    LA County
    909.241.3300
    
    Thomas Geza Miko
    http://www.tgmiko.com/
    Claremont, Los Angeles County, California
    909.241.3300
    
    On Sat, Jan 13, 2018 at 12:58 PM, Chuck & Lillian misclists@... [CALBIRDS] < CALBIRDS-noreply@yahoogroups.com > wrote:
    
      Birders:
    
    Yes, they're still relevant. I read CALBIRDS and LaCoBirds every day. I
    try to post only when necessary. [I have been accused of posting slightly
    off-topic items, an accusation which - IMHO - is lacking a sense of
    humor.]
    
     I find it very useful for people (it certainly doesn't have to be
    the *same* person) to continue to report on rare birds. I don't get out
    right away on rarities, as some people habitually do, and it might take a
    week - even two - for me to get there. It's nice to know the bird is
    still there. Driving around fruitlessly in Los Angeles or SoCal traffic
    is hazardous to your mental health.
    
    I don't use GPS (no smartphone - Luddites Live!), but many do, and it
    seems silly to possess the exact location info and not share it. Written
    descriptions of location PLUS the GPS coordinates would serve both camps.
    One can always google at home the GPS coordinates and write down where it
    is.
    
    I have found *many many* times that descriptions given on-line will get
    you to the general locale, but then are lacking some crucial detail(s)
    which would get you to the bird, if you had them. Details, please! Put
    yourself in the birding shoes of someone new to the area.
    
    Chuck Almdale
    
    North Hills, Ca.
    
    At 07:46 AM 1/13/2018, Ken Burton shrikethree@... [CALBIRDS]
    wrote:
     
    
    Paul,
    
    You raise some good points (thanks for venting).  Your eBird
    analysis raises a slightly off-topic issue with eBird that bothers me and
    this seems like a reasonable opportunity to share it.
    
    As you point out, eBird hotspots can be quite large.  eBird
    reviewers, following eBird instructions, ask people who submit rarities
    at more-precise personal locations to move their observations to the
    hotspots or they create new "stakeout" hotspots for them and
    ask observers to move them there.  For some reason, there's a
    desire within eBird to consolidate rarity sightings.  I feel this
    consolidation often masks location precision that can elucidate valuable
    movement patterns of these birds, and I generally resist these requests
    (unless the existing hotspot is extremely small or my sighting was
    extremely close to its plotted location), at least until the bird is
    gone.
    
    Perhaps someone can explain why having rarity sightings clumped into
    single locations is worth erasing the precision of personal locations
    plotted exactly where sightings are made, which is especially easy and
    accurate to do on mobile devices.
    
    Thanks.
    
    Ken Burton
    
    Crescent City
    
    On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 2:18 PM, Paul Lehman
    lehman.paul@...
    [CALBIRDS]
    <
    CALBIRDS-noreply@yahoogroups. com > wrote:
     
    
    It is pretty obvious that over the past few years that many of the
    local/county/regional/state listservs have become less and less relevant
    to a large number of birders, as many of these people have voted with
    their feet….er, fingertips….and moved over to other sitestes such as
    eBird. Not only that, but bird information dissemination appears to have
    become MORE fragmented as time goes on, rather than less fragmented. We
    now have the local listservs, eBird, WhatsApp/GroupMe text messaging
    groups, Facebook individual and group sites, personal Flickr sites,
    personal and private-group text messaging, and even a handful of
    old-school folks who actually still call their friends on the phone! Some
    of these services are SUPPPOSED to complement each other, e.g., a
    text-message group that is supposed to be used for immediate
    dissemination of high-end rarity information only, and folks are supposed
    to post to it AND to the local listserv in a timely manner, but instead
    the former is used almost exclusively and often for more standard bird
    fare, so the general listserv gets only some scraps, if anything.
    
    Using my home-county listserv here in San Diego as an example, the
    number of local birders who now rarely if ever post to
    SanDiegoRegionBirding has grown steadily. Most of these folks still
    happily get information from such sources, but rarely, if ever, post to
    it. But a good number of these people do submit eBird reports on a
    regular basis instead.  Why only to one Is it the ease of eBird
    submissions Is it the instantaneous reporting from the field (But that
    is also easy to do to a local listserv with any smartphone.) Is it that
    they can easily attach their photos to their eBird reports Is there a
    widespread belief that posting rarity news only to eBird is
    “enoughâ€Â  Or for some, are they timid to post publicly, or
    just lazy, or simply don’t care to give back to a listserv from which
    they got information allowing them to see a rare bird Whatever the
    reason, recent checks on many days since mid-December of the number of
    posts to the San Diego listserv versus the number of county “rarityâ€
    alerts coming through eBird is something on the magnitude of 1 to 20 or
    30 (albeit somewhat skewed by the numbers of out-of-town Nazca Booby
    viewers and local-birder 2018 “big year†kickoffs, and by the
    potential for multiple rarities mentioned per a single listserv post but
    only one species per eBird alert). A little of this dichotomy can be
    explained by the fact that some birds such as a semi-tame,
    multi-year-staying Greater White-fronted Goose at a local lake still
    appears daily on the eBird rare-bird alert—given that it is a flagged
    species—but that vt virtually nobody would dream of posting its continued
    existence on a regular basis on the county listserv. Or, over the past
    few weeks, the continued presence of Nazca Boobies, a wintering
    Red-throated Pipit, and many other regional and state-level rarities
    locally, has drawn an especially large number of California birders from
    out of town as well as many out-of-state birders—few of whom have posting
    privileges to the San Diego listserv, but almost all of them can post to
    eBird.
    
    In most areas, eBird has become the best way to keep track, on an
    almost daily basis, of the continued presence of existing rarities. (With
    the caveat that some such reports are erroneous, as they are through any
    source, and folks should be careful following up on some such reports,
    especially when made many days after anyone else has reported seeing the
    bird. Even when some folks are chasing known birds at known locations,
    they can mess it up. Posted photos of misidentified stakeouts are not
    overly rare, and the number of such erroneous reports without photos are
    likely even greater. Just recently, for example, a friend of mine from
    out-of-state, after seeing Nazca Booby here, drove up to Santa Maria to
    see the tame Garganey. He was greeted there by a birding couple, also
    from out of state and chasing the same birds, who proudly pointed out the
    bird to him: a female Northern Pintail. He quickly showed them the real
    Garganey. But, the bottom line is, don’t underestimate the ability of
    some observers to misidentify even known stakeouts.  But I
    digress…)
    
    Are eBird reports also good at giving the needed background
    information on how to FIND these stakeout rarities Sometimes yes,
    sometimes no. A dropped pin at a hotspot may or may not signify a
    specific spot or may just denote the location of a large park or marsh
    where the bird is. Some observers add in exact lat/long information, but
    many do not. Also, because many human beings (including many birders) are
    geographically challenged, many locations they give in their eBird
    submissions are MIS-STATED or MIS-PLOTTED, which is one potentially
    serious problem with using eBird data in a number of ways in general. But
    even if the general location is indeed correct, the included comments (if
    any) may say little about the specific tree(s) a bird is frequenting, or
    the best time of day it might be seen there, origin questionable issues,
    or information about possible legal access issues, etc. These specifics,
    which can be very important, are often best imparted through posts to the
    local listservs. Just in the past couple weeks, such was the case here in
    San Diego County with a couple good posts to the listserv dealing with
    private property issues and homeowner and birder behavior involving the
    Ramona Harris’s Hawk.
    
    Does one need to post an update on every continuing rarity every
    single day on a local listserv No, although regular updates on high-end
    and just-recently-found rarities are very helpful, and then periodic
    (weekly) updates that such-and-such long-staying or returning rarity is
    still present is also helpful to other birders. But few local birders
    supply that information. Recently here in San Diego, there have been
    MULTIPLE DAILY eBird updates on Nazca Booby, Red-throated Pipit, Greater
    Pewee, Thick-billed Kingbird and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Harris’s
    Hawk, Tricolored Herons, Nestor Park birds, etc. etc. etc., and almost
    nothing on these birds for well over a week or more on
    SanDiegoRegionBirding. Nothing. The question then becomes: “Does it
    matterâ€
    
    Looking at the broad birding community, some birders spend almost
    their entire birding lives chasing stakeouts found by other people. If
    that’s what they like doing, then great. Some (but far fewer) birders
    hate chasing “other people’s birds,†very rarely do it, but spend
    almost all their time doing “their own†birding. That’s great,
    too!  And most of us birders are at some point in the continuum
    between these two extremes. But the bottom line is, a relatively small
    number of birders find a relatively large percentage of the rare birds.
    And many birders do spend much of their birding time chasing previously
    found birds. So, what can this large group of chasers contribute Perhaps
    rarity-status update information (BOTH positive and negative) if they see
    that such updates have not been made in “a reasonable time period,â€
    or perhaps any news on changes in a bird’s preferred exact site or
    timing of appearance during the day. Maybe include a bit more information
    than the standard "continuing bird"Â Include maybe where and
    when the continuing bird was seen if possibly different from “usual..â€
    And if the report substantially extends the date-span, then ideally
    including some comment about how it was identified, or a photo. 
    Some eBird reviewers avoid confirming late reports of continuing rarities
    without at least some documentation, given that some birds are reported
    long after they actually departed.
    
    If folks use only eBird for their rare-bird chasing bird info, and
    then submit only to eBird, then fine. If they do likewise only via some
    texting or Facebook group, fine! But if they routinely use a local
    listserv to get their “chase†information, see the bird, and then
    rarely or never return the favor to birders following behind them—be it
    for reasons of laziness, cluelessness, or simply self-centeredness—then
    thhis does seem just a wee bit galling to those birders who are finding
    and sharing.
    
    Perhaps most birders are perfectly happy with the quality and speed
    (i.e., efficiency) of the rare-bird information they receive and think
    that my concerns are unfounded and mostly merely tilting at windmills.
    Others may sympathize fully. In any case, at least I got to
    vent!
    
    --Paul Lehman,  San Diego
    
    Â 
  4. -back to top-
  5. Re: [CALBIRDS] Are Regional/County Listservs Still Relevant? [a bit long] LINK
    DATE: Jan 13, 2018 @ 5:24pm, 4 month(s) ago
    Ken,
    
    Personal locations for rarities that are plotted by observers are often inaccurate, and one ends up with a cluster of observations that are not *more* accurate, but less accurate than a single hotspot would be. A mild example (as most are plotted very close to the yard) is the Broad-billed Hummingbird currently in a backyard in Santa Barbara. This bird rarely strays from one lemon tree/feeder in this very small yard, yet the personal locations are out front, across the street, etc. (some of this might be due to poor GPS accuracy). On a scale this small, it doesn't matter that these aren't perfectly accurate. I've seen other examples with rarities in Ventura Co. of birds that were known to have never strayed far and the personal locations are, forgive me, all over the map. If one wants to look at the record in eBird and see the date range and documentation in the mapping feature, then one would have to click each and every personal location (which can be challenging if not impossible when you have 10, 20, 75 personal locations in a giant cluster). It is simpler and very often more accurate in such cases to have a hotspot that all users submit to.
    
    If the rarity in question is moving more widely, e.g., the Ross's Gull in San Mateo and many other examples, then I agree-- a wide scattering of personal locations may be more appropriate than a couple of artificially exact hotspots. Additionally note that many eBird observations aren't accurate point localities and nor is that the intention--we're more often submitting traveling counts where almost none of the observations are plotted exactly.
    
    Adam Searcy
    
    On Sat, Jan 13, 2018 at 7:46 AM, Ken Burton shrikethree@... [CALBIRDS] < CALBIRDS-noreply@yahoogroups.com > wrote:
    
      Paul,
    
    You raise some good points (thanks for venting).  Your eBird analysis raises a slightly off-topic issue with eBird that bothers me and this seems like a reasonable opportunity to share it.
    
    As you point out, eBird hotspots can be quite large.  eBird reviewers, following eBird instructions, ask people who submit rarities at more-precise personal locations to move their observations to the hotspots or they create new "stakeout" hotspots for them and ask observers to move them there.  For some reason, there's a desire within eBird to consolidate rarity sightings.  I feel this consolidation often masks location precision that can elucidate valuable movement patterns of these birds, and I generally resist these requests (unless the existing hotspot is extremely small or my sighting was extremely close to its plotted location), at least until the bird is gone.
    
    Perhaps someone can explain why having rarity sightings clumped into single locations is worth erasing the precision of personal locations plotted exactly where sightings are made, which is especially easy and accurate to do on mobile devices.
    
    Thanks.
    
    Ken Burton
    Crescent City
    
    On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 2:18 PM, Paul Lehman lehman.paul@... [CALBIRDS] < CALBIRDS-noreply@yahoogroups. com > wrote:
    
      It is pretty obvious that over the past few
    years that many
    of the local/county/regional/state listservs have become less
    and less relevant
    to a large number of birders, as many of these people have voted
    with their
    feet….er, fingertips….and moved over to other sites such as
    eBird. Not only
    that, but bird information dissemination appears to have become
    MORE fragmented
    as time goes on, rather than less fragmented. We now have the
    local listservs,
    eBird, WhatsApp/GroupMe text messaging groups, Facebook
    individual and group
    sites, personal Flickr sites, personal and private-group text
    messaging, and
    even a handful of old-school folks who actually still call their
    friends on the
    phone! Some of these services are SUPPPOSED to complement each
    other, e.g., a
    text-message group that is supposed to be used for immediate
    dissemination of high-end
    rarity information only, and folks are supposed to post to it
    AND to the local
    listserv in a timely manner, but instead the former is used
    almost exclusively
    and often for more standard bird fare, so the general listserv
    gets only some
    scraps, if anything. Using my home-county listserv here in San
    Diego as an
    example, the number of local birders who now rarely if ever post
    to
    SanDiegoRegionBirding has grown steadily. Most of these folks
    still happily get
    information from such sources, but rarely, if ever, post to it.
    But a good
    number of these people do submit eBird reports on a regular
    basis instead.   Why only
    to one Is it the ease of eBird
    submissions Is it the instantaneous reporting from the field
    (But that is
    also easy to do to a local listserv with any smartphone.) Is it
    that they can
    easily attach their photos to their eBird reports Is there a
    widespread belief
    that posting rarity news only to eBird is “enough”   Or for some, are they timid
    to post publicly,
    or just lazy, or simply don’t care to give back to a listserv
    from which they
    got information allowing them to see a rare bird Whatever the
    reason, recent
    checks on many days since mid-December of the number of posts to
    the San Diego listserv
    versus the number of county “rarity” alerts coming through eBird
    is something
    on the magnitude of 1 to 20 or 30 (albeit somewhat skewed by the
    numbers of
    out-of-town Nazca Booby viewers and local-birder 2018 “big year”
    kickoffs, and
    by the potential for multiple rarities mentioned per a single
    listserv post but
    only one species per eBird alert). A little of this dichotomy
    can be explained
    by the fact that some birds such as a semi-tame,
    multi-year-staying Greater
    White-fronted Goose at a local lake still appears daily on the
    eBird rare-bird
    alert—given that it is a flagged species—but that virtually
    nobody would dream
    of posting its continued existence on a regular basis on the
    county listserv.
    Or, over the past few weeks, the continued presence of Nazca
    Boobies, a
    wintering Red-throated Pipit, and many other regional and
    state-level rarities
    locally, has drawn an especially large number of California
    birders from out of
    town as well as many out-of-state birders—few of whom have
    posting privileges
    to the San Diego listserv, but almost all of them can post to
    eBird. In most areas, eBird has become the best way
    to keep track,
    on an almost daily basis, of the continued presence of existing
    rarities. (With
    the caveat that some such reports are erroneous, as they are
    through any
    source, and folks should be careful following up on some such
    reports,
    especially when made many days after anyone else has reported
    seeing the bird.
    Even when some folks are chasing known birds at known locations,
    they can mess
    it up. Posted photos of misidentified stakeouts are not overly
    rare, and the
    number of such erroneous reports without photos are likely even
    greater. Just recently,
    for example, a friend of mine from out-of-state, after seeing
    Nazca Booby here,
    drove up to Santa Maria to see the tame Garganey. He was greeted
    there by a birding
    couple, also from out of state and chasing the same birds, who
    proudly pointed
    out the bird to him: a female Northern Pintail. He quickly
    showed them the real
    Garganey. But, the bottom line is, don’t underestimate the
    ability of some
    observers to misidentify even known stakeouts.  
    But I digress…) Are eBird reports also good at giving the
    needed background
    information on how to FIND these stakeout rarities Sometimes
    yes, sometimes
    no. A dropped pin at a hotspot may or may not signify a specific
    spot or may
    just denote the location of a large park or marsh where the bird
    is. Some
    observers add in exact lat/long information, but many do not.
    Also, because
    many human beings (including many birders) are geographically
    challenged, many
    locations they give in their eBird submissions are MIS-STATED or
    MIS-PLOTTED,
    which is one potentially serious problem with using eBird data
    in a number of
    ways in general. But even if the general location is indeed
    correct, the included
    comments (if any) may say little about the specific tree(s) a
    bird is
    frequenting, or the best time of day it might be seen there,
    origin
    questionable issues, or information about possible legal access
    issues, etc. These
    specifics, which can be very important, are often best imparted
    through posts
    to the local listservs. Just in the past couple weeks, such was
    the case here
    in San Diego County with a couple good posts to the listserv
    dealing with
    private property issues and homeowner and birder behavior
    involving the Ramona
    Harris’s Hawk. Does one need to post an update on every
    continuing rarity
    every single day on a local listserv No, although regular
    updates on high-end
    and just-recently-found rarities are very helpful, and then
    periodic (weekly) updates
    that such-and-such long-staying or returning rarity is still
    present is also
    helpful to other birders. But few local birders supply that
    information.
    Recently here in San Diego, there have been MULTIPLE DAILY eBird
    updates on
    Nazca Booby, Red-throated Pipit, Greater Pewee, Thick-billed
    Kingbird and
    Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Harris’s Hawk, Tricolored Herons,
    Nestor Park birds,
    etc. etc. etc., and almost nothing on these birds for well over
    a week or more on
    SanDiegoRegionBirding. Nothing. The question then becomes: “Does
    it matter” Looking at the broad birding community, some
    birders spend
    almost their entire birding lives chasing stakeouts found by
    other people. If
    that’s what they like doing, then great. Some (but far fewer)
    birders hate
    chasing “other people’s birds,” very rarely do it, but spend
    almost all their
    time doing “their own” birding. That’s great, too!   And most of us birders are
    at some point in
    the continuum between these two extremes. But the bottom line
    is, a relatively
    small number of birders find a relatively large percentage of
    the rare birds.
    And many birders do spend much of their birding time chasing
    previously found
    birds. So, what can this large group of chasers contribute
    Perhaps
    rarity-status update information (BOTH positive and negative) if
    they see that such
    updates have not been made in “a reasonable time period,” or
    perhaps any news
    on changes in a bird’s preferred exact site or timing of
    appearance during the
    day .
    M aybe include a bit more information
    than the
    standard "continuing bird" Include maybe where and when the
    continuing bird was seen if possibly different from “usual.”
    And if the report
    substantially extends the date-span, then ideally including
    some comment about
    how it was identified, or a photo.  Some eBird reviewers
    avoid confirming
    late reports of continuing rarities without at least some
    documentation, given
    that some birds are reported long after they actually
    departed. If folks use only eBird for their rare-bird
    chasing bird
    info, and then submit only to eBird, then fine. If they do
    likewise only via
    some texting or Facebook group, fine! But if they routinely use
    a local
    listserv to get their “chase” information, see the bird, and
    then rarely or
    never return the favor to birders following behind them—be it
    for reasons of
    laziness, cluelessness, or simply self-centeredness—then this
    does seem just a
    wee bit galling to those birders who are finding and sharing. Perhaps most birders are perfectly happy with
    the quality
    and speed (i.e., efficiency) of the rare-bird information they
    receive and
    think that my concerns are unfounded and mostly merely tilting
    at windmills.
    Others may sympathize fully. In any case, at least I got to
    vent! --Paul Lehman,  
    San
    Diego  
    
    --
    Adam Searcy serpophaga@...
    Camarillo, CA
  6. -back to top-
  7. Re: [CALBIRDS] Are Regional/County Listservs Still Relevant? [a bit long] LINK
    DATE: Jan 13, 2018 @ 3:41pm, 4 month(s) ago
    Ken, you are so right on with this.  I have posted to within a few feet of where I have seen a bird, only to have someone write me and tell me to move it to a hot spot, not all that close to where I saw it.  Also, We went on a desert trip two years ago and saw something like 170 burrowing owls.  We didn't estimate, we did the old fence post tally for every single bird we saw.  I'd say the margin for error was 1 to 2 percent at most, and we were told that out list wouldn't be allowed because that was more birds than the habbitat would allow.  I mean it, and I really mean it and this is still a very sour spot for us.  We fence posted tallied that many birds, but nobody will ever see our list.  I even invited the person to join us, but got absolutely no reply.  If I had done this on a list serv, it would have gone through and other could have enjoyed the same success that we did without being too invasive on these birds.  We need our Listservs, just please, be a little more understanding on them is all I ask.
     
    Mark Stratton
    San Diego
      Sent:  Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 7:46 AM
    
    From:  "Ken Burton shrikethree@... [CALBIRDS]"
    
    To:  "Paul Lehman"
    
    Cc:  CALBIRDS
    
    Subject:  Re: [CALBIRDS] Are Regional/County Listservs Still Relevant [a bit long]
        Paul,  
    You raise some good points (thanks for venting).  Your eBird analysis raises a slightly off-topic issue with eBird that bothers me and this seems like a reasonable opportunity to share it.
     
    As you point out, eBird hotspots can be quite large.  eBird reviewers, following eBird instructions, ask people who submit rarities at more-precise personal locations to move their observations to the hotspots or they create new "stakeout" hotspots for them and ask observers to move them there.  For some reason, there's a desire within eBird to consolidate rarity sightings.  I feel this consolidation often masks location precision that can elucidate valuable movement patterns of these birds, and I generally resist these requests (unless the existing hotspot is extremely small or my sighting was extremely close to its plotted location), at least until the bird is gone.
     
    Perhaps someone can explain why having rarity sightings clumped into single locations is worth erasing the precision of personal locations plotted exactly where sightings are made, which is especially easy and accurate to do on mobile devices.
     
    Thanks.
     
    Ken Burton
    Crescent City
    
      On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 2:18 PM, Paul Lehman lehman.paul@... [CALBIRDS] < CALBIRDS-noreply@yahoogroups.com > wrote:         It is pretty obvious that over the past few years that many of the local/county/regional/state listservs have become less and less relevant to a large number of birders, as many of these people have voted with their feet….er, fingertips….and moved over to other sites such as eBird. Not only that, but bird information dissemination appears to have become MORE fragmented as time goes on, rather than less fragmented. We now have the local listservs, eBird, WhatsApp/GroupMe text messaging groups, Facebook individual and group sites, personal Flickr sites, personal and private-group text messaging, and even a handful of old-school folks who actually still call their friends on the phone! Some of these services are SUPPPOSED to complement each other, e.g., a text-message group that is supposed to be used for immediate dissemination of high-end rarity information only, and folks are supposed to post to it AND to the local listserv in a timely manner, but instead the former is used almost exclusively and often for more standard bird fare, so the general listserv gets only some scraps, if anything. Using my home-county listserv here in San Diego as an example, the number of local birders who now rarely if ever post to SanDiegoRegionBirding has grown steadily. Most of these folks still happily get information from such sources, but rarely, if ever, post to it. But a good number of these people do submit eBird reports on a regular basis instead.   Why only to one Is it the ease of eBird submissions Is it the instantaneous reporting from the field (But that is also easy to do to a local listserv with any smartphone.) Is it that they can easily attach their photos to their eBird reports Is there a widespread belief that posting rarity news only to eBird is “enough”   Or for some, are they timid to post publicly, or just lazy, or simply don’t care to give back to a listserv from which they got information allowing them to see a rare bird Whatever the reason, recent checks on many days since mid-December of the number of posts to the San Diego listserv versus the number of county “rarity” alerts coming through eBird is something on the magnitude of 1 to 20 or 30 (albeit somewhat skewed by the numbers of out-of-town Nazca Booby viewers and local-birder 2018 “big year” kickoffs, and by the potential for multiple rarities mentioned per a single listserv post but only one species per eBird alert). A little of this dichotomy can be explained by the fact that some birds such as a semi-tame, multi-year-staying Greater White-fronted Goose at a local lake still appears daily on the eBird rare-bird alert—given that it is a flagged species—but that virtually nobody would dream of posting its continued existence on a regular basis on the county listserv. Or, over the past few weeks, the continued presence of Nazca Boobies, a wintering Red-throated Pipit, and many other regional and state-level rarities locally, has drawn an especially large number of California birders from out of town as well as many out-of-state birders—few of whom have posting privileges to the San Diego listserv, but almost all of them can post to eBird. In most areas, eBird has become the best way to keep track, on an almost daily basis, of the continued presence of existing rarities. (With the caveat that some such reports are erroneous, as they are through any source, and folks should be careful following up on some such reports, especially when made many days after anyone else has reported seeing the bird. Even when some folks are chasing known birds at known locations, they can mess it up. Posted photos of misidentified stakeouts are not overly rare, and the number of such erroneous reports without photos are likely even greater. Just recently, for example, a friend of mine from out-of-state, after seeing Nazca Booby here, drove up to Santa Maria to see the tame Garganey. He was greeted there by a birding couple, also from out of state and chasing the same birds, who proudly pointed out the bird to him: a female Northern Pintail. He quickly showed them the real Garganey. But, the bottom line is, don’t underestimate the ability of some observers to misidentify even known stakeouts.   But I digress…) Are eBird reports also good at giving the needed background information on how to FIND these stakeout rarities Sometimes yes, sometimes no. A dropped pin at a hotspot may or may not signify a specific spot or may just denote the location of a large park or marsh where the bird is. Some observers add in exact lat/long information, but many do not. Also, because many human beings (including many birders) are geographically challenged, many locations they give in their eBird submissions are MIS-STATED or MIS-PLOTTED, which is one potentially serious problem with using eBird data in a number of ways in general. But even if the general location is indeed correct, the included comments (if any) may say little about the specific tree(s) a bird is frequenting, or the best time of day it might be seen there, origin questionable issues, or information about possible legal access issues, etc. These specifics, which can be very important, are often best imparted through posts to the local listservs. Just in the past couple weeks, such was the case here in San Diego County with a couple good posts to the listserv dealing with private property issues and homeowner and birder behavior involving the Ramona Harris’s Hawk. Does one need to post an update on every continuing rarity every single day on a local listserv No, although regular updates on high-end and just-recently-found rarities are very helpful, and then periodic (weekly) updates that such-and-such long-staying or returning rarity is still present is also helpful to other birders. But few local birders supply that information. Recently here in San Diego, there have been MULTIPLE DAILY eBird updates on Nazca Booby, Red-throated Pipit, Greater Pewee, Thick-billed Kingbird and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Harris’s Hawk, Tricolored Herons, Nestor Park birds, etc. etc. etc., and almost nothing on these birds for well over a week or more on SanDiegoRegionBirding. Nothing. The question then becomes: “Does it matter” Looking at the broad birding community, some birders spend almost their entire birding lives chasing stakeouts found by other people. If that’s what they like doing, then great. Some (but far fewer) birders hate chasing “other people’s birds,” very rarely do it, but spend almost all their time doing “their own” birding. That’s great, too!   And most of us birders are at some point in the continuum between these two extremes. But the bottom line is, a relatively small number of birders find a relatively large percentage of the rare birds. And many birders do spend much of their birding time chasing previously found birds. So, what can this large group of chasers contribute Perhaps rarity-status update information (BOTH positive and negative) if they see that such updates have not been made in “a reasonable time period,” or perhaps any news on changes in a bird’s preferred exact site or timing of appearance during the day . M aybe include a bit more information than the standard "continuing bird" Include maybe where and when the continuing bird was seen if possibly different from “usual.” And if the report substantially extends the date-span, then ideally including some comment about how it was identified, or a photo.  Some eBird reviewers avoid confirming late reports of continuing rarities without at least some documentation, given that some birds are reported long after they actually departed. If folks use only eBird for their rare-bird chasing bird info, and then submit only to eBird, then fine. If they do likewise only via some texting or Facebook group, fine! But if they routinely use a local listserv to get their “chase” information, see the bird, and then rarely or never return the favor to birders following behind them—be it for reasons of laziness, cluelessness, or simply self-centeredness—then this does seem just a wee bit galling to those birders who are finding and sharing. Perhaps most birders are perfectly happy with the quality and speed (i.e., efficiency) of the rare-bird information they receive and think that my concerns are unfounded and mostly merely tilting at windmills. Others may sympathize fully. In any case, at least I got to vent! --Paul Lehman,   San Diego      
     
    
     
  8. -back to top-
  9. Re: [CALBIRDS] Are Regional/County Listservs Still Relevant? [a bit long] LINK
    DATE: Jan 13, 2018 @ 3:50pm, 4 month(s) ago
    Mark,
    
    How many miles did your 170-BUOW list cover  eBird requests that lists cover no more than five miles (and some would say even that's too much).  Even in the Imperial Valley, I don't think BUOW densities reach 34/mile.
    
    Ken
    
    On Sat, Jan 13, 2018 at 3:41 PM, Mark Stratton < zostropz@... > wrote:
    Ken, you are so right on with this.  I have posted to within a few feet of where I have seen a bird, only to have someone write me and tell me to move it to a hot spot, not all that close to where I saw it.  Also, We went on a desert trip two years ago and saw something like 170 burrowing owls.  We didn't estimate, we did the old fence post tally for every single bird we saw.  I'd say the margin for error was 1 to 2 percent at most, and we were told that out list wouldn't be allowed because that was more birds than the habbitat would allow.  I mean it, and I really mean it and this is still a very sour spot for us.  We fence posted tallied that many birds, but nobody will ever see our list.  I even invited the person to join us, but got absolutely no reply.  If I had done this on a list serv, it would have gone through and other could have enjoyed the same success that we did without being too invasive on these birds.  We need our Listservs, just please, be a little more understanding on them is all I ask.
     
    Mark Stratton
    San Diego
      Sent:  Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 7:46 AM
    
    From:  "Ken Burton shrikethree@... [CALBIRDS]" < CALBIRDS-noreply@yahoogroups. com >
    
    To:  "Paul Lehman" < lehman.paul@... >
    
    Cc:  CALBIRDS < CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com >
    
    Subject:  Re: [CALBIRDS] Are Regional/County Listservs Still Relevant [a bit long]
        Paul,  
    You raise some good points (thanks for venting).  Your eBird analysis raises a slightly off-topic issue with eBird that bothers me and this seems like a reasonable opportunity to share it.
     
    As you point out, eBird hotspots can be quite large.  eBird reviewers, following eBird instructions, ask people who submit rarities at more-precise personal locations to move their observations to the hotspots or they create new "stakeout" hotspots for them and ask observers to move them there.  For some reason, there's a desire within eBird to consolidate rarity sightings.  I feel this consolidation often masks location precision that can elucidate valuable movement patterns of these birds, and I generally resist these requests (unless the existing hotspot is extremely small or my sighting was extremely close to its plotted location), at least until the bird is gone.
     
    Perhaps someone can explain why having rarity sightings clumped into single locations is worth erasing the precision of personal locations plotted exactly where sightings are made, which is especially easy and accurate to do on mobile devices.
     
    Thanks.
     
    Ken Burton
    Crescent City
    
      On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 2:18 PM, Paul Lehman lehman.paul@... [CALBIRDS] < CALBIRDS-noreply@yahoogroups. com > wrote:         It is pretty obvious that over the past few years that many of the local/county/regional/state listservs have become less and less relevant to a large number of birders, as many of these people have voted with their feet….er, fingertips….and moved over to other sites such as eBird. Not only that, but bird information dissemination appears to have become MORE fragmented as time goes on, rather than less fragmented. We now have the local listservs, eBird, WhatsApp/GroupMe text messaging groups, Facebook individual and group sites, personal Flickr sites, personal and private-group text messaging, and even a handful of old-school folks who actually still call their friends on the phone! Some of these services are SUPPPOSED to complement each other, e.g., a text-message group that is supposed to be used for immediate dissemination of high-end rarity information only, and folks are supposed to post to it AND to the local listserv in a timely manner, but instead the former is used almost exclusively and often for more standard bird fare, so the general listserv gets only some scraps, if anything. Using my home-county listserv here in San Diego as an example, the number of local birders who now rarely if ever post to SanDiegoRegionBirding has grown steadily. Most of these folks still happily get information from such sources, but rarely, if ever, post to it. But a good number of these people do submit eBird reports on a regular basis instead.   Why only to one Is it the ease of eBird submissions Is it the instantaneous reporting from the field (But that is also easy to do to a local listserv with any smartphone.) Is it that they can easily attach their photos to their eBird reports Is there a widespread belief that posting rarity news only to eBird is “enough”   Or for some, are they timid to post publicly, or just lazy, or simply don’t care to give back to a listserv from which they got information allowing them to see a rare bird Whatever the reason, recent checks on many days since mid-December of the number of posts to the San Diego listserv versus the number of county “rarity” alerts coming through eBird is something on the magnitude of 1 to 20 or 30 (albeit somewhat skewed by the numbers of out-of-town Nazca Booby viewers and local-birder 2018 “big year” kickoffs, and by the potential for multiple rarities mentioned per a single listserv post but only one species per eBird alert). A little of this dichotomy can be explained by the fact that some birds such as a semi-tame, multi-year-staying Greater White-fronted Goose at a local lake still appears daily on the eBird rare-bird alert—given that it is a flagged species—but that virtually nobody would dream of posting its continued existence on a regular basis on the county listserv. Or, over the past few weeks, the continued presence of Nazca Boobies, a wintering Red-throated Pipit, and many other regional and state-level rarities locally, has drawn an especially large number of California birders from out of town as well as many out-of-state birders—few of whom have posting privileges to the San Diego listserv, but almost all of them can post to eBird. In most areas, eBird has become the best way to keep track, on an almost daily basis, of the continued presence of existing rarities. (With the caveat that some such reports are erroneous, as they are through any source, and folks should be careful following up on some such reports, especially when made many days after anyone else has reported seeing the bird. Even when some folks are chasing known birds at known locations, they can mess it up. Posted photos of misidentified stakeouts are not overly rare, and the number of such erroneous reports without photos are likely even greater. Just recently, for example, a friend of mine from out-of-state, after seeing Nazca Booby here, drove up to Santa Maria to see the tame Garganey. He was greeted there by a birding couple, also from out of state and chasing the same birds, who proudly pointed out the bird to him: a female Northern Pintail. He quickly showed them the real Garganey. But, the bottom line is, don’t underestimate the ability of some observers to misidentify even known stakeouts.   But I digress…) Are eBird reports also good at giving the needed background information on how to FIND these stakeout rarities Sometimes yes, sometimes no. A dropped pin at a hotspot may or may not signify a specific spot or may just denote the location of a large park or marsh where the bird is. Some observers add in exact lat/long information, but many do not. Also, because many human beings (including many birders) are geographically challenged, many locations they give in their eBird submissions are MIS-STATED or MIS-PLOTTED, which is one potentially serious problem with using eBird data in a number of ways in general. But even if the general location is indeed correct, the included comments (if any) may say little about the specific tree(s) a bird is frequenting, or the best time of day it might be seen there, origin questionable issues, or information about possible legal access issues, etc. These specifics, which can be very important, are often best imparted through posts to the local listservs. Just in the past couple weeks, such was the case here in San Diego County with a couple good posts to the listserv dealing with private property issues and homeowner and birder behavior involving the Ramona Harris’s Hawk. Does one need to post an update on every continuing rarity every single day on a local listserv No, although regular updates on high-end and just-recently-found rarities are very helpful, and then periodic (weekly) updates that such-and-such long-staying or returning rarity is still present is also helpful to other birders. But few local birders supply that information. Recently here in San Diego, there have been MULTIPLE DAILY eBird updates on Nazca Booby, Red-throated Pipit, Greater Pewee, Thick-billed Kingbird and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Harris’s Hawk, Tricolored Herons, Nestor Park birds, etc. etc. etc., and almost nothing on these birds for well over a week or more on SanDiegoRegionBirding. Nothing. The question then becomes: “Does it matter” Looking at the broad birding community, some birders spend almost their entire birding lives chasing stakeouts found by other people. If that’s what they like doing, then great. Some (but far fewer) birders hate chasing “other people’s birds,” very rarely do it, but spend almost all their time doing “their own” birding. That’s great, too!   And most of us birders are at some point in the continuum between these two extremes. But the bottom line is, a relatively small number of birders find a relatively large percentage of the rare birds. And many birders do spend much of their birding time chasing previously found birds. So, what can this large group of chasers contribute Perhaps rarity-status update information (BOTH positive and negative) if they see that such updates have not been made in “a reasonable time period,” or perhaps any news on changes in a bird’s preferred exact site or timing of appearance during the day . M aybe include a bit more information than the standard "continuing bird" Include maybe where and when the continuing bird was seen if possibly different from “usual.” And if the report substantially extends the date-span, then ideally including some comment about how it was identified, or a photo.  Some eBird reviewers avoid confirming late reports of continuing rarities without at least some documentation, given that some birds are reported long after they actually departed. If folks use only eBird for their rare-bird chasing bird info, and then submit only to eBird, then fine. If they do likewise only via some texting or Facebook group, fine! But if they routinely use a local listserv to get their “chase” information, see the bird, and then rarely or never return the favor to birders following behind them—be it for reasons of laziness, cluelessness, or simply self-centeredness—then this does seem just a wee bit galling to those birders who are finding and sharing. Perhaps most birders are perfectly happy with the quality and speed (i.e., efficiency) of the rare-bird information they receive and think that my concerns are unfounded and mostly merely tilting at windmills. Others may sympathize fully. In any case, at least I got to vent! --Paul Lehman,   San Diego      
     
    
     
  10. -back to top-
  11. Re: [CALBIRDS] Are Regional/County Listservs Still Relevant? LINK
    DATE: Jan 13, 2018 @ 12:58pm, 4 month(s) ago
    Birders:
    
    Yes, they're still relevant. I read CALBIRDS and LaCoBirds every day. I
    try to post only when necessary. [I have been accused of posting slightly
    off-topic items, an accusation which - IMHO - is lacking a sense of
    humor.]
    
    I find it very useful for people (it certainly doesn't have to be
    the *same* person) to continue to report on rare birds. I don't get out
    right away on rarities, as some people habitually do, and it might take a
    week - even two - for me to get there. It's nice to know the bird is
    still there. Driving around fruitlessly in Los Angeles or SoCal traffic
    is hazardous to your mental health.
    
    I don't use GPS (no smartphone - Luddites Live!), but many do, and it
    seems silly to possess the exact location info and not share it. Written
    descriptions of location PLUS the GPS coordinates would serve both camps.
    One can always google at home the GPS coordinates and write down where it
    is.
    
    I have found *many many* times that descriptions given on-line will get
    you to the general locale, but then are lacking some crucial detail(s)
    which would get you to the bird, if you had them. Details, please! Put
    yourself in the birding shoes of someone new to the area.
    
    Chuck Almdale
    
    North Hills, Ca.
    
    At 07:46 AM 1/13/2018, Ken Burton shrikethree@... [CALBIRDS]
    wrote:
    
    
    Paul,
    
    You raise some good points (thanks for venting). Your eBird
    analysis raises a slightly off-topic issue with eBird that bothers me and
    this seems like a reasonable opportunity to share it.
    
    As you point out, eBird hotspots can be quite large. eBird
    reviewers, following eBird instructions, ask people who submit rarities
    at more-precise personal locations to move their observations to the
    hotspots or they create new "stakeout" hotspots for them and
    ask observers to move them there. For some reason, there's a
    desire within eBird to consolidate rarity sightings. I feel this
    consolidation often masks location precision that can elucidate valuable
    movement patterns of these birds, and I generally resist these requests
    (unless the existing hotspot is extremely small or my sighting was
    extremely close to its plotted location), at least until the bird is
    gone.
    
    Perhaps someone can explain why having rarity sightings clumped into
    single locations is worth erasing the precision of personal locations
    plotted exactly where sightings are made, which is especially easy and
    accurate to do on mobile devices.
    
    Thanks.
    
    Ken Burton
    
    Crescent City
    
    On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 2:18 PM, Paul Lehman
    lehman.paul@...
    [CALBIRDS]
    <
    CALBIRDS-noreply@yahoogroups.com > wrote:
    Â
    
    It is pretty obvious that over the past few years that many of the
    local/county/regional/state listservs have become less and less relevant
    to a large number of birders, as many of these people have voted with
    their feet.er, fingertips.and moved over to other sitestes such as
    eBird. Not only that, but bird information dissemination appears to have
    become MORE fragmented as time goes on, rather than less fragmented. We
    now have the local listservs, eBird, WhatsApp/GroupMe text messaging
    groups, Facebook individual and group sites, personal Flickr sites,
    personal and private-group text messaging, and even a handful of
    old-school folks who actually still call their friends on the phone! Some
    of these services are SUPPPOSED to complement each other, e.g., a
    text-message group that is supposed to be used for immediate
    dissemination of high-end rarity information only, and folks are supposed
    to post to it AND to the local listserv in a timely manner, but instead
    the former is used almost exclusively and often for more standard bird
    fare, so the general listserv gets only some scraps, if anything.
    
    Using my home-county listserv here in San Diego as an example, the
    number of local birders who now rarely if ever post to
    SanDiegoRegionBirding has grown steadily. Most of these folks still
    happily get information from such sources, but rarely, if ever, post to
    it. But a good number of these people do submit eBird reports on a
    regular basis instead. Why only to one Is it the ease of eBird
    submissions Is it the instantaneous reporting from the field (But that
    is also easy to do to a local listserv with any smartphone.) Is it that
    they can easily attach their photos to their eBird reports Is there a
    widespread belief that posting rarity news only to eBird is
    âenoughâťÂ Or for some, are they timid to post publicly, or
    just lazy, or simply donât care to give back to a listserv from which
    they got information allowing them to see a rare bird Whatever the
    reason, recent checks on many days since mid-December of the number of
    posts to the San Diego listserv versus the number of county ârarityâť
    alerts coming through eBird is something on the magnitude of 1 to 20 or
    30 (albeit somewhat skewed by the numbers of out-of-town Nazca Booby
    viewers and local-birder 2018 âbig yearâť kickoffs, and by the
    potential for multiple rarities mentioned per a single listserv post but
    only one species per eBird alert). A little of this dichotomy can be
    explained by the fact that some birds such as a semi-tame,
    multi-year-staying Greater White-fronted Goose at a local lake still
    appears daily on the eBird rare-bird alertgiven that it is a flagged
    speciesbut that vt virtually nobody would dream of posting its continued
    existence on a regular basis on the county listserv. Or, over the past
    few weeks, the continued presence of Nazca Boobies, a wintering
    Red-throated Pipit, and many other regional and state-level rarities
    locally, has drawn an especially large number of California birders from
    out of town as well as many out-of-state birdersfew of whom have posting
    privileges to the San Diego listserv, but almost all of them can post to
    eBird.
    
    In most areas, eBird has become the best way to keep track, on an
    almost daily basis, of the continued presence of existing rarities. (With
    the caveat that some such reports are erroneous, as they are through any
    source, and folks should be careful following up on some such reports,
    especially when made many days after anyone else has reported seeing the
    bird. Even when some folks are chasing known birds at known locations,
    they can mess it up. Posted photos of misidentified stakeouts are not
    overly rare, and the number of such erroneous reports without photos are
    likely even greater. Just recently, for example, a friend of mine from
    out-of-state, after seeing Nazca Booby here, drove up to Santa Maria to
    see the tame Garganey. He was greeted there by a birding couple, also
    from out of state and chasing the same birds, who proudly pointed out the
    bird to him: a female Northern Pintail. He quickly showed them the real
    Garganey. But, the bottom line is, donât underestimate the ability of
    some observers to misidentify even known stakeouts. But I
    digress)
    
    Are eBird reports also good at giving the needed background
    information on how to FIND these stakeout rarities Sometimes yes,
    sometimes no. A dropped pin at a hotspot may or may not signify a
    specific spot or may just denote the location of a large park or marsh
    where the bird is. Some observers add in exact lat/long information, but
    many do not. Also, because many human beings (including many birders) are
    geographically challenged, many locations they give in their eBird
    submissions are MIS-STATED or MIS-PLOTTED, which is one potentially
    serious problem with using eBird data in a number of ways in general. But
    even if the general location is indeed correct, the included comments (if
    any) may say little about the specific tree(s) a bird is frequenting, or
    the best time of day it might be seen there, origin questionable issues,
    or information about possible legal access issues, etc. These specifics,
    which can be very important, are often best imparted through posts to the
    local listservs. Just in the past couple weeks, such was the case here in
    San Diego County with a couple good posts to the listserv dealing with
    private property issues and homeowner and birder behavior involving the
    Ramona Harrisâs Hawk.
    
    Does one need to post an update on every continuing rarity every
    single day on a local listserv No, although regular updates on high-end
    and just-recently-found rarities are very helpful, and then periodic
    (weekly) updates that such-and-such long-staying or returning rarity is
    still present is also helpful to other birders. But few local birders
    supply that information. Recently here in San Diego, there have been
    MULTIPLE DAILY eBird updates on Nazca Booby, Red-throated Pipit, Greater
    Pewee, Thick-billed Kingbird and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Harrisâs
    Hawk, Tricolored Herons, Nestor Park birds, etc. etc. etc., and almost
    nothing on these birds for well over a week or more on
    SanDiegoRegionBirding. Nothing. The question then becomes: âDoes it
    matterâť
    
    Looking at the broad birding community, some birders spend almost
    their entire birding lives chasing stakeouts found by other people. If
    thatâs what they like doing, then great. Some (but far fewer) birders
    hate chasing âother peopleâs birds,âť very rarely do it, but spend
    almost all their time doing âtheir ownâť birding. Thatâs great,
    too! And most of us birders are at some point in the continuum
    between these two extremes. But the bottom line is, a relatively small
    number of birders find a relatively large percentage of the rare birds.
    And many birders do spend much of their birding time chasing previously
    found birds. So, what can this large group of chasers contribute Perhaps
    rarity-status update information (BOTH positive and negative) if they see
    that such updates have not been made in âa reasonable time period,âť
    or perhaps any news on changes in a birdâs preferred exact site or
    timing of appearance during the day. Maybe include a bit more information
    than the standard "continuing bird"Â Include maybe where and
    when the continuing bird was seen if possibly different from âusual.âť
    And if the report substantially extends the date-span, then ideally
    including some comment about how it was identified, or a photo.Â
    Some eBird reviewers avoid confirming late reports of continuing rarities
    without at least some documentation, given that some birds are reported
    long after they actually departed.
    
    If folks use only eBird for their rare-bird chasing bird info, and
    then submit only to eBird, then fine. If they do likewise only via some
    texting or Facebook group, fine! But if they routinely use a local
    listserv to get their âchaseâť information, see the bird, and then
    rarely or never return the favor to birders following behind thembe it
    for reasons of laziness, cluelessness, or simply self-centerednessthen
    thhis does seem just a wee bit galling to those birders who are finding
    and sharing.
    
    Perhaps most birders are perfectly happy with the quality and speed
    (i.e., efficiency) of the rare-bird information they receive and think
    that my concerns are unfounded and mostly merely tilting at windmills.
    Others may sympathize fully. In any case, at least I got to
    vent!
    
    --Paul Lehman, San Diego
    
    Â 
  12. -back to top-
  13. Re: [CALBIRDS] Are Regional/County Listservs Still Relevant? [a bit long] LINK
    DATE: Jan 13, 2018 @ 7:46am, 4 month(s) ago
    Paul,
    
    You raise some good points (thanks for venting).  Your eBird analysis raises a slightly off-topic issue with eBird that bothers me and this seems like a reasonable opportunity to share it.
    
    As you point out, eBird hotspots can be quite large.  eBird reviewers, following eBird instructions, ask people who submit rarities at more-precise personal locations to move their observations to the hotspots or they create new "stakeout" hotspots for them and ask observers to move them there.  For some reason, there's a desire within eBird to consolidate rarity sightings.  I feel this consolidation often masks location precision that can elucidate valuable movement patterns of these birds, and I generally resist these requests (unless the existing hotspot is extremely small or my sighting was extremely close to its plotted location), at least until the bird is gone.
    
    Perhaps someone can explain why having rarity sightings clumped into single locations is worth erasing the precision of personal locations plotted exactly where sightings are made, which is especially easy and accurate to do on mobile devices.
    
    Thanks.
    
    Ken Burton
    Crescent City
    
    On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 2:18 PM, Paul Lehman lehman.paul@... [CALBIRDS] < CALBIRDS-noreply@yahoogroups.com > wrote:
    
      It is pretty obvious that over the past few
    years that many
    of the local/county/regional/state listservs have become less
    and less relevant
    to a large number of birders, as many of these people have voted
    with their
    feet….er, fingertips….and moved over to other sites such as
    eBird. Not only
    that, but bird information dissemination appears to have become
    MORE fragmented
    as time goes on, rather than less fragmented. We now have the
    local listservs,
    eBird, WhatsApp/GroupMe text messaging groups, Facebook
    individual and group
    sites, personal Flickr sites, personal and private-group text
    messaging, and
    even a handful of old-school folks who actually still call their
    friends on the
    phone! Some of these services are SUPPPOSED to complement each
    other, e.g., a
    text-message group that is supposed to be used for immediate
    dissemination of high-end
    rarity information only, and folks are supposed to post to it
    AND to the local
    listserv in a timely manner, but instead the former is used
    almost exclusively
    and often for more standard bird fare, so the general listserv
    gets only some
    scraps, if anything. Using my home-county listserv here in San
    Diego as an
    example, the number of local birders who now rarely if ever post
    to
    SanDiegoRegionBirding has grown steadily. Most of these folks
    still happily get
    information from such sources, but rarely, if ever, post to it.
    But a good
    number of these people do submit eBird reports on a regular
    basis instead.   Why only
    to one Is it the ease of eBird
    submissions Is it the instantaneous reporting from the field
    (But that is
    also easy to do to a local listserv with any smartphone.) Is it
    that they can
    easily attach their photos to their eBird reports Is there a
    widespread belief
    that posting rarity news only to eBird is “enough”   Or for some, are they timid
    to post publicly,
    or just lazy, or simply don’t care to give back to a listserv
    from which they
    got information allowing them to see a rare bird Whatever the
    reason, recent
    checks on many days since mid-December of the number of posts to
    the San Diego listserv
    versus the number of county “rarity” alerts coming through eBird
    is something
    on the magnitude of 1 to 20 or 30 (albeit somewhat skewed by the
    numbers of
    out-of-town Nazca Booby viewers and local-birder 2018 “big year”
    kickoffs, and
    by the potential for multiple rarities mentioned per a single
    listserv post but
    only one species per eBird alert). A little of this dichotomy
    can be explained
    by the fact that some birds such as a semi-tame,
    multi-year-staying Greater
    White-fronted Goose at a local lake still appears daily on the
    eBird rare-bird
    alert—given that it is a flagged species—but that virtually
    nobody would dream
    of posting its continued existence on a regular basis on the
    county listserv.
    Or, over the past few weeks, the continued presence of Nazca
    Boobies, a
    wintering Red-throated Pipit, and many other regional and
    state-level rarities
    locally, has drawn an especially large number of California
    birders from out of
    town as well as many out-of-state birders—few of whom have
    posting privileges
    to the San Diego listserv, but almost all of them can post to
    eBird. In most areas, eBird has become the best way
    to keep track,
    on an almost daily basis, of the continued presence of existing
    rarities. (With
    the caveat that some such reports are erroneous, as they are
    through any
    source, and folks should be careful following up on some such
    reports,
    especially when made many days after anyone else has reported
    seeing the bird.
    Even when some folks are chasing known birds at known locations,
    they can mess
    it up. Posted photos of misidentified stakeouts are not overly
    rare, and the
    number of such erroneous reports without photos are likely even
    greater. Just recently,
    for example, a friend of mine from out-of-state, after seeing
    Nazca Booby here,
    drove up to Santa Maria to see the tame Garganey. He was greeted
    there by a birding
    couple, also from out of state and chasing the same birds, who
    proudly pointed
    out the bird to him: a female Northern Pintail. He quickly
    showed them the real
    Garganey. But, the bottom line is, don’t underestimate the
    ability of some
    observers to misidentify even known stakeouts.  
    But I digress…) Are eBird reports also good at giving the
    needed background
    information on how to FIND these stakeout rarities Sometimes
    yes, sometimes
    no. A dropped pin at a hotspot may or may not signify a specific
    spot or may
    just denote the location of a large park or marsh where the bird
    is. Some
    observers add in exact lat/long information, but many do not.
    Also, because
    many human beings (including many birders) are geographically
    challenged, many
    locations they give in their eBird submissions are MIS-STATED or
    MIS-PLOTTED,
    which is one potentially serious problem with using eBird data
    in a number of
    ways in general. But even if the general location is indeed
    correct, the included
    comments (if any) may say little about the specific tree(s) a
    bird is
    frequenting, or the best time of day it might be seen there,
    origin
    questionable issues, or information about possible legal access
    issues, etc. These
    specifics, which can be very important, are often best imparted
    through posts
    to the local listservs. Just in the past couple weeks, such was
    the case here
    in San Diego County with a couple good posts to the listserv
    dealing with
    private property issues and homeowner and birder behavior
    involving the Ramona
    Harris’s Hawk. Does one need to post an update on every
    continuing rarity
    every single day on a local listserv No, although regular
    updates on high-end
    and just-recently-found rarities are very helpful, and then
    periodic (weekly) updates
    that such-and-such long-staying or returning rarity is still
    present is also
    helpful to other birders. But few local birders supply that
    information.
    Recently here in San Diego, there have been MULTIPLE DAILY eBird
    updates on
    Nazca Booby, Red-throated Pipit, Greater Pewee, Thick-billed
    Kingbird and
    Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Harris’s Hawk, Tricolored Herons,
    Nestor Park birds,
    etc. etc. etc., and almost nothing on these birds for well over
    a week or more on
    SanDiegoRegionBirding. Nothing. The question then becomes: “Does
    it matter” Looking at the broad birding community, some
    birders spend
    almost their entire birding lives chasing stakeouts found by
    other people. If
    that’s what they like doing, then great. Some (but far fewer)
    birders hate
    chasing “other people’s birds,” very rarely do it, but spend
    almost all their
    time doing “their own” birding. That’s great, too!   And most of us birders are
    at some point in
    the continuum between these two extremes. But the bottom line
    is, a relatively
    small number of birders find a relatively large percentage of
    the rare birds.
    And many birders do spend much of their birding time chasing
    previously found
    birds. So, what can this large group of chasers contribute
    Perhaps
    rarity-status update information (BOTH positive and negative) if
    they see that such
    updates have not been made in “a reasonable time period,” or
    perhaps any news
    on changes in a bird’s preferred exact site or timing of
    appearance during the
    day .
    M aybe include a bit more information
    than the
    standard "continuing bird" Include maybe where and when the
    continuing bird was seen if possibly different from “usual.”
    And if the report
    substantially extends the date-span, then ideally including
    some comment about
    how it was identified, or a photo.  Some eBird reviewers
    avoid confirming
    late reports of continuing rarities without at least some
    documentation, given
    that some birds are reported long after they actually
    departed. If folks use only eBird for their rare-bird
    chasing bird
    info, and then submit only to eBird, then fine. If they do
    likewise only via
    some texting or Facebook group, fine! But if they routinely use
    a local
    listserv to get their “chase” information, see the bird, and
    then rarely or
    never return the favor to birders following behind them—be it
    for reasons of
    laziness, cluelessness, or simply self-centeredness—then this
    does seem just a
    wee bit galling to those birders who are finding and sharing. Perhaps most birders are perfectly happy with
    the quality
    and speed (i.e., efficiency) of the rare-bird information they
    receive and
    think that my concerns are unfounded and mostly merely tilting
    at windmills.
    Others may sympathize fully. In any case, at least I got to
    vent! --Paul Lehman,  
    San
    Diego  
  14. -back to top-
  15. Re: [CALBIRDS] Are Regional/County Listservs Still Relevant? [a bit long] LINK
    DATE: Jan 12, 2018 @ 5:01pm, 4 month(s) ago
    I do have to say that although, I have really reduced my posts a lot over the last couple of years, I constanly see on our own local list serv that we should not continuously post about a bird that everyone already knows about so naturally, I have been spooked away from posting about something that has already been posted about 3, 4, 5, ....10 times, even if it is rare.  Especially for some of us that aren't amongst the better birders, we just never quite know where to draw the line.  Do we keep posting or don't we  It has to be one or the other or we just really don't know what to do.  Especailly some of the newer birders, I use to have so many people thanking me for my posts but others that said I posted too much.  This is conflicting and dificult to interprit to the newer birders.  So, in closing, we can't be told that we should keep posting, but then told, if it's already been posted about 3,4,5 or more times, we don't need to keep posting because we just honestly, don't know what we are supposed to do.
     
    Mark Stratton
    San Diego
      Sent:  Friday, January 12, 2018 at 2:18 PM
    
    From:  "Paul Lehman lehman.paul@... [CALBIRDS]"
    
    To:  CALBIRDS
    
    Subject:  [CALBIRDS] Are Regional/County Listservs Still Relevant [a bit long]
            It is pretty obvious that over the past few years that many of the local/county/regional/state listservs have become less and less relevant to a large number of birders, as many of these people have voted with their feet….er, fingertips….and moved over to other sites such as eBird. Not only that, but bird information dissemination appears to have become MORE fragmented as time goes on, rather than less fragmented. We now have the local listservs, eBird, WhatsApp/GroupMe text messaging groups, Facebook individual and group sites, personal Flickr sites, personal and private-group text messaging, and even a handful of old-school folks who actually still call their friends on the phone! Some of these services are SUPPPOSED to complement each other, e.g., a text-message group that is supposed to be used for immediate dissemination of high-end rarity information only, and folks are supposed to post to it AND to the local listserv in a timely manner, but instead the former is used almost exclusively and often for more standard bird fare, so the general listserv gets only some scraps, if anything. Using my home-county listserv here in San Diego as an example, the number of local birders who now rarely if ever post to SanDiegoRegionBirding has grown steadily. Most of these folks still happily get information from such sources, but rarely, if ever, post to it. But a good number of these people do submit eBird reports on a regular basis instead.   Why only to one Is it the ease of eBird submissions Is it the instantaneous reporting from the field (But that is also easy to do to a local listserv with any smartphone.) Is it that they can easily attach their photos to their eBird reports Is there a widespread belief that posting rarity news only to eBird is “enough”   Or for some, are they timid to post publicly, or just lazy, or simply don’t care to give back to a listserv from which they got information allowing them to see a rare bird Whatever the reason, recent checks on many days since mid-December of the number of posts to the San Diego listserv versus the number of county “rarity” alerts coming through eBird is something on the magnitude of 1 to 20 or 30 (albeit somewhat skewed by the numbers of out-of-town Nazca Booby viewers and local-birder 2018 “big year” kickoffs, and by the potential for multiple rarities mentioned per a single listserv post but only one species per eBird alert). A little of this dichotomy can be explained by the fact that some birds such as a semi-tame, multi-year-staying Greater White-fronted Goose at a local lake still appears daily on the eBird rare-bird alert—given that it is a flagged species—but that virtually nobody would dream of posting its continued existence on a regular basis on the county listserv. Or, over the past few weeks, the continued presence of Nazca Boobies, a wintering Red-throated Pipit, and many other regional and state-level rarities locally, has drawn an especially large number of California birders from out of town as well as many out-of-state birders—few of whom have posting privileges to the San Diego listserv, but almost all of them can post to eBird. In most areas, eBird has become the best way to keep track, on an almost daily basis, of the continued presence of existing rarities. (With the caveat that some such reports are erroneous, as they are through any source, and folks should be careful following up on some such reports, especially when made many days after anyone else has reported seeing the bird. Even when some folks are chasing known birds at known locations, they can mess it up. Posted photos of misidentified stakeouts are not overly rare, and the number of such erroneous reports without photos are likely even greater. Just recently, for example, a friend of mine from out-of-state, after seeing Nazca Booby here, drove up to Santa Maria to see the tame Garganey. He was greeted there by a birding couple, also from out of state and chasing the same birds, who proudly pointed out the bird to him: a female Northern Pintail. He quickly showed them the real Garganey. But, the bottom line is, don’t underestimate the ability of some observers to misidentify even known stakeouts.   But I digress…) Are eBird reports also good at giving the needed background information on how to FIND these stakeout rarities Sometimes yes, sometimes no. A dropped pin at a hotspot may or may not signify a specific spot or may just denote the location of a large park or marsh where the bird is. Some observers add in exact lat/long information, but many do not. Also, because many human beings (including many birders) are geographically challenged, many locations they give in their eBird submissions are MIS-STATED or MIS-PLOTTED, which is one potentially serious problem with using eBird data in a number of ways in general. But even if the general location is indeed correct, the included comments (if any) may say little about the specific tree(s) a bird is frequenting, or the best time of day it might be seen there, origin questionable issues, or information about possible legal access issues, etc. These specifics, which can be very important, are often best imparted through posts to the local listservs. Just in the past couple weeks, such was the case here in San Diego County with a couple good posts to the listserv dealing with private property issues and homeowner and birder behavior involving the Ramona Harris’s Hawk. Does one need to post an update on every continuing rarity every single day on a local listserv No, although regular updates on high-end and just-recently-found rarities are very helpful, and then periodic (weekly) updates that such-and-such long-staying or returning rarity is still present is also helpful to other birders. But few local birders supply that information. Recently here in San Diego, there have been MULTIPLE DAILY eBird updates on Nazca Booby, Red-throated Pipit, Greater Pewee, Thick-billed Kingbird and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Harris’s Hawk, Tricolored Herons, Nestor Park birds, etc. etc. etc., and almost nothing on these birds for well over a week or more on SanDiegoRegionBirding. Nothing. The question then becomes: “Does it matter” Looking at the broad birding community, some birders spend almost their entire birding lives chasing stakeouts found by other people. If that’s what they like doing, then great. Some (but far fewer) birders hate chasing “other people’s birds,” very rarely do it, but spend almost all their time doing “their own” birding. That’s great, too!   And most of us birders are at some point in the continuum between these two extremes. But the bottom line is, a relatively small number of birders find a relatively large percentage of the rare birds. And many birders do spend much of their birding time chasing previously found birds. So, what can this large group of chasers contribute Perhaps rarity-status update information (BOTH positive and negative) if they see that such updates have not been made in “a reasonable time period,” or perhaps any news on changes in a bird’s preferred exact site or timing of appearance during the day . M aybe include a bit more information than the standard "continuing bird" Include maybe where and when the continuing bird was seen if possibly different from “usual.” And if the report substantially extends the date-span, then ideally including some comment about how it was identified, or a photo.  Some eBird reviewers avoid confirming late reports of continuing rarities without at least some documentation, given that some birds are reported long after they actually departed. If folks use only eBird for their rare-bird chasing bird info, and then submit only to eBird, then fine. If they do likewise only via some texting or Facebook group, fine! But if they routinely use a local listserv to get their “chase” information, see the bird, and then rarely or never return the favor to birders following behind them—be it for reasons of laziness, cluelessness, or simply self-centeredness—then this does seem just a wee bit galling to those birders who are finding and sharing. Perhaps most birders are perfectly happy with the quality and speed (i.e., efficiency) of the rare-bird information they receive and think that my concerns are unfounded and mostly merely tilting at windmills. Others may sympathize fully. In any case, at least I got to vent! --Paul Lehman,   San Diego      
  16. -back to top-
  17. Are Regional/County Listservs Still Relevant? [a bit long] LINK
    DATE: Jan 12, 2018 @ 2:18pm, 4 month(s) ago
    It is pretty obvious that over the past few
    years that many
    of the local/county/regional/state listservs have become less
    and less relevant
    to a large number of birders, as many of these people have voted
    with their
    feet….er, fingertips….and moved over to other sites such as
    eBird. Not only
    that, but bird information dissemination appears to have become
    MORE fragmented
    as time goes on, rather than less fragmented. We now have the
    local listservs,
    eBird, WhatsApp/GroupMe text messaging groups, Facebook
    individual and group
    sites, personal Flickr sites, personal and private-group text
    messaging, and
    even a handful of old-school folks who actually still call their
    friends on the
    phone! Some of these services are SUPPPOSED to complement each
    other, e.g., a
    text-message group that is supposed to be used for immediate
    dissemination of high-end
    rarity information only, and folks are supposed to post to it
    AND to the local
    listserv in a timely manner, but instead the former is used
    almost exclusively
    and often for more standard bird fare, so the general listserv
    gets only some
    scraps, if anything. Using my home-county listserv here in San
    Diego as an
    example, the number of local birders who now rarely if ever post
    to
    SanDiegoRegionBirding has grown steadily. Most of these folks
    still happily get
    information from such sources, but rarely, if ever, post to it.
    But a good
    number of these people do submit eBird reports on a regular
    basis instead.   Why only
    to one Is it the ease of eBird
    submissions Is it the instantaneous reporting from the field
    (But that is
    also easy to do to a local listserv with any smartphone.) Is it
    that they can
    easily attach their photos to their eBird reports Is there a
    widespread belief
    that posting rarity news only to eBird is “enough”   Or for some, are they timid
    to post publicly,
    or just lazy, or simply don’t care to give back to a listserv
    from which they
    got information allowing them to see a rare bird Whatever the
    reason, recent
    checks on many days since mid-December of the number of posts to
    the San Diego listserv
    versus the number of county “rarity” alerts coming through eBird
    is something
    on the magnitude of 1 to 20 or 30 (albeit somewhat skewed by the
    numbers of
    out-of-town Nazca Booby viewers and local-birder 2018 “big year”
    kickoffs, and
    by the potential for multiple rarities mentioned per a single
    listserv post but
    only one species per eBird alert). A little of this dichotomy
    can be explained
    by the fact that some birds such as a semi-tame,
    multi-year-staying Greater
    White-fronted Goose at a local lake still appears daily on the
    eBird rare-bird
    alert—given that it is a flagged species—but that virtually
    nobody would dream
    of posting its continued existence on a regular basis on the
    county listserv.
    Or, over the past few weeks, the continued presence of Nazca
    Boobies, a
    wintering Red-throated Pipit, and many other regional and
    state-level rarities
    locally, has drawn an especially large number of California
    birders from out of
    town as well as many out-of-state birders—few of whom have
    posting privileges
    to the San Diego listserv, but almost all of them can post to
    eBird. In most areas, eBird has become the best way
    to keep track,
    on an almost daily basis, of the continued presence of existing
    rarities. (With
    the caveat that some such reports are erroneous, as they are
    through any
    source, and folks should be careful following up on some such
    reports,
    especially when made many days after anyone else has reported
    seeing the bird.
    Even when some folks are chasing known birds at known locations,
    they can mess
    it up. Posted photos of misidentified stakeouts are not overly
    rare, and the
    number of such erroneous reports without photos are likely even
    greater. Just recently,
    for example, a friend of mine from out-of-state, after seeing
    Nazca Booby here,
    drove up to Santa Maria to see the tame Garganey. He was greeted
    there by a birding
    couple, also from out of state and chasing the same birds, who
    proudly pointed
    out the bird to him: a female Northern Pintail. He quickly
    showed them the real
    Garganey. But, the bottom line is, don’t underestimate the
    ability of some
    observers to misidentify even known stakeouts.  
    But I digress…) Are eBird reports also good at giving the
    needed background
    information on how to FIND these stakeout rarities Sometimes
    yes, sometimes
    no. A dropped pin at a hotspot may or may not signify a specific
    spot or may
    just denote the location of a large park or marsh where the bird
    is. Some
    observers add in exact lat/long information, but many do not.
    Also, because
    many human beings (including many birders) are geographically
    challenged, many
    locations they give in their eBird submissions are MIS-STATED or
    MIS-PLOTTED,
    which is one potentially serious problem with using eBird data
    in a number of
    ways in general. But even if the general location is indeed
    correct, the included
    comments (if any) may say little about the specific tree(s) a
    bird is
    frequenting, or the best time of day it might be seen there,
    origin
    questionable issues, or information about possible legal access
    issues, etc. These
    specifics, which can be very important, are often best imparted
    through posts
    to the local listservs. Just in the past couple weeks, such was
    the case here
    in San Diego County with a couple good posts to the listserv
    dealing with
    private property issues and homeowner and birder behavior
    involving the Ramona
    Harris’s Hawk. Does one need to post an update on every
    continuing rarity
    every single day on a local listserv No, although regular
    updates on high-end
    and just-recently-found rarities are very helpful, and then
    periodic (weekly) updates
    that such-and-such long-staying or returning rarity is still
    present is also
    helpful to other birders. But few local birders supply that
    information.
    Recently here in San Diego, there have been MULTIPLE DAILY eBird
    updates on
    Nazca Booby, Red-throated Pipit, Greater Pewee, Thick-billed
    Kingbird and
    Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Harris’s Hawk, Tricolored Herons,
    Nestor Park birds,
    etc. etc. etc., and almost nothing on these birds for well over
    a week or more on
    SanDiegoRegionBirding. Nothing. The question then becomes: “Does
    it matter” Looking at the broad birding community, some
    birders spend
    almost their entire birding lives chasing stakeouts found by
    other people. If
    that’s what they like doing, then great. Some (but far fewer)
    birders hate
    chasing “other people’s birds,” very rarely do it, but spend
    almost all their
    time doing “their own” birding. That’s great, too!   And most of us birders are
    at some point in
    the continuum between these two extremes. But the bottom line
    is, a relatively
    small number of birders find a relatively large percentage of
    the rare birds.
    And many birders do spend much of their birding time chasing
    previously found
    birds. So, what can this large group of chasers contribute
    Perhaps
    rarity-status update information (BOTH positive and negative) if
    they see that such
    updates have not been made in “a reasonable time period,” or
    perhaps any news
    on changes in a bird’s preferred exact site or timing of
    appearance during the
    day .
    M aybe include a bit more information
    than the
    standard "continuing bird" Include maybe where and when the
    continuing bird was seen if possibly different from “usual.”
    And if the report
    substantially extends the date-span, then ideally including
    some comment about
    how it was identified, or a photo.  Some eBird reviewers
    avoid confirming
    late reports of continuing rarities without at least some
    documentation, given
    that some birds are reported long after they actually
    departed. If folks use only eBird for their rare-bird
    chasing bird
    info, and then submit only to eBird, then fine. If they do
    likewise only via
    some texting or Facebook group, fine! But if they routinely use
    a local
    listserv to get their “chase” information, see the bird, and
    then rarely or
    never return the favor to birders following behind them—be it
    for reasons of
    laziness, cluelessness, or simply self-centeredness—then this
    does seem just a
    wee bit galling to those birders who are finding and sharing. Perhaps most birders are perfectly happy with
    the quality
    and speed (i.e., efficiency) of the rare-bird information they
    receive and
    think that my concerns are unfounded and mostly merely tilting
    at windmills.
    Others may sympathize fully. In any case, at least I got to
    vent! --Paul Lehman,  
    San
    Diego  
  18. -back to top-
  19. Red-throated Pipit at Big Bear Lake (and Sanderling at Kramer Junction) LINK
    DATE: May 1, 2016 @ 8:52pm, 2 year(s) ago
    A few more details on the Red-throated Pipits at Big Bear Lake (second and third count records) found earlier today, May 1. Both birds were along the same stretch of the south shore of Big Bear Lake, though never seen together on the ground (and only once together in flight). They were usually by themselves, but occasionally near one or several American Pipits. They showed a preference for foraging in the grass and short, broad-leaf vegetation just back from the shoreline, but would also venture out onto the open mudflats. For anyone looking tomorrow I would recommend walking through the short grass and vegetation parallel to the shoreline, and scanning the exposed mudflats and grassy areas ahead of you. Listen for its diagnostic flight call, as they were quite skittish and not closely approachable. If you can follow and see where it lands, you should be able to relocate and scope it from a distance. We were able to do this several times over the course of the afternoon.
    
    To access this area, you can park behind the Vons and walk the short distance along Sandalwood Drive to Rathbun Creek and follow the dirt road out to the shoreline. You can also drive this road out toward the shore, but use common sense and stop before you get your car stuck in the mud if you do. The birds were seen between the "mouth" of Rathbun Creek and the cove immediately east of Eagle Point, but did seem to favor the peninsula east of Eagle Point (more or less here:34.254427, -116.896171).
    
    Also earlier today, I found a Sanderling at Kramer Junction solar evaporation ponds. It was mostly in basic plumage, but did have some alternate feathers on the head and a few on the back.
    
    Tom Benson
    San Bernardino, CA
    
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/40928097@N07/
    
    
  20. -back to top-
  21. RE: [LACoBirds] Red-throated Pipit, San Clemente Island LINK
    DATE: May 1, 2016 @ 3:39pm, 2 year(s) ago
    Not sure why this hasn't been posted yet, but a Red-throated Pipit was found at Big Bear Lake this morning by Eric Tipton, and Michael Woodruff found a second one about 15 minutes ago. The area of shoreline where the birds were seen can be accessed from behind the Vons in Big Bear City.
    
    Tom Benson
    San Bernardino, CA
    
    Sent from my Sprint Samsung Galaxy S® 6.
    
    -------- Original message --------
    From: "Justyn Stahl justyn.stahl@... [LACoBirds]"
    Date: 5/1/16 3:09 PM (GMT-08:00)
    To: lacobirds , calbirds@yahoogroups.com
    Subject: [LACoBirds] Red-throated Pipit, San Clemente Island
    
    Today, 1 May 2016, I found and photographed a Red-throated Pipit on San Clemente Island. Looking at eBird, I see just one other May record for California: 9 May 2007, Del Norte Co.
    
    Photos in checklist:
    http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklistsubID=S29338240
    
    Cheers,
    
    Justyn Stahl
    
    San Clemente Island
  22. -back to top-
  23. Red-throated Pipit, San Clemente Island LINK
    DATE: May 1, 2016 @ 3:09pm, 2 year(s) ago
    Today, 1 May 2016, I found and photographed a Red-throated Pipit on San Clemente Island. Looking at eBird, I see just one other May record for California: 9 May 2007, Del Norte Co.
    
    Photos in checklist:
    http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklistsubID=S29338240
    
    Cheers,
    
    Justyn Stahl
    
    San Clemente Island
  24. -back to top-
  25. on possible invasions of R-t Pipits, Sharp-tld Sands, other Sibes--and Kittiwakes! LINK
    DATE: Sep 25, 2014 @ 8:29am, 4 year(s) ago
    Greetings from the land of regular Red-throated Pipit migration in the
    northern Bering Sea (Gambell), where I have been since mid-August and
    will be for just one more week. This fall has been just "average" up
    here for numbers of RTPIs, as it has been also farther south in the
    Bering at St Paul. I mention this because since the early 1990s, there
    has been a pretty strong correlation between the best years up here and
    the several true "invasion" years of this species farther south in
    California and Baja. Now, this certainly doesn't mean there won't be
    Red-throats scattered around coastal CA, with a few possibly inland as
    well, in something a little below or even a bit above the 'usual'
    numbers. And, indeed there have already been birds at the Farallones and
    San Mateo Co. and currently also four together in San Diego--all of
    which are slightly early, but not overly so. Time will tell how it all
    plays out. And despite the presence already of at least a couple
    Sharp-tailed Sandpipers in n. CA (plus a very few in BC, WA, OR), it has
    been only an average year (at best) here in the Bering for that species
    as well, where it occurs in moderate numbers (juveniles). Such a close
    correlation is not as clear in this species, so fall predictions for CA
    will not be made by me! A good year for Bramblings, however. And
    excellent for Asian strays in general.
    
    I will add that there HAVE been several records of quality Asian
    rarities already this fall at Middleton Island in the northern Gulf of
    Alaska: Pacific (Fork-tailed) Swift, Yellow-browed Warbler,
    Red-throated Pipit, Brambling, and a few shorebirds. Middleton is in the
    Gulf, SSE of Anchorage, and so is WELL east or southeast of the Bering
    Sea and should be a better bell-weather for what might occur in the
    weeks ahead farther down the West Coast in BC, WA, OR, CA, and Baja.
    Too soon to say whether that will translate in to any sort of "Siberian
    Express" autumn and winter in CA, but it is nice to dream! The lower,
    stronger branch of the jet stream has been running from Kamchatka, just
    south of the Aleutians, and then dipping well to the south off the
    Pacific Northwest.
    
    Lastly, Black-legged Kittiwake breeding in much of Alaska is largely a
    "boom or bust" scenario, and most recent years have been decidedly
    busts. But, 2014 has been a huge BOOM at many, many sites across the
    state. There are gobs of juveniles flying about. So we'll see if this
    translates--irrespective of oceanographic conditions--to a sizable
    flight to the south down the Pacific Coast this coming winter, or not...
    
    --Paul Lehman (San Diego, usually)
    
    
  26. -back to top-
  27. Red-throated Pipit - Half Moon Bay. LINK
    DATE: Sep 25, 2014 @ 5:23pm, 4 year(s) ago
  28. -back to top-
  29. Farallones bird wave fri/sat, sep 19-20 LINK
    DATE: Sep 21, 2014 @ 8:43am, 4 year(s) ago
    Hi all. Yesterday (saturday) on Southeast Farallon Island, the Point Blue Conservation Science crew had our second consecutive day of good migrant bird conditions. We saw great numbers of migrants, including 21 species of warblers.
    
    High overcast and light winds continue this morning (sunday), so here is just a brief note of the highlights from friday and saturday:
    
    *WHITE-FACED IBIS (4TH ISLAND RECORD)
    BLACK SWIFT
    CHIMNEY SWIFT
    HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER
    *PLUMBEOUS VIREO (3RD ISLAND RECORD)
    RED-THROATED PIPIT - 2
    OVENBIRD
    NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH
    BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER
    TENNESSE WARBLER - 4
    *CONNECTICUT WARBLER
    *MOURNING WARBLER
    AMERICAN REDSTART
    MAGNOLIA WARBLER - 2
    BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER - 2
    CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER
    BLACKPOLL WARBLER - 3
    BOBOLINK
    
    Check in with what we've been seeing on ebird! Here is the checklist from yesterday: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklistsubID=S19891067
    
    If you'd like to see photos of most of these birds, check out the farallonia flickr site here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/53425647@N02
    
    Or, I have a SEFI 2014 album on my Picasa site as well here: https://picasaweb.google.com/101314872386852188220/SEFI2014
    
    Cheers and fruitful birding,
    
    Dan Maxwell and the rest of the SEFI crew (Boo Curry, Kristie Nelson, Adam Searcy, Jim Tietz, and Oliver James)
    
    
  30. -back to top-


-revision history-
v1.30 - 01/05/16 - Revamped cloud logic, optimized database queries, linked to eBird rarities.
v1.23 - 12/08/11 - Added direct link to CBRC records.
v1.22 - 12/03/11 - Corrected GMT offsets on dates. Added last 5 posts at top.
v1.21 - 11/24/11 - Added direct link to range map for NA birds.
v1.2  - 11/23/11 - Greatly improved graphing technology - separates month vs. year by posts. Added species auto-complete functionality.
v1.14 - 11/22/11 - Added cloud bubble for common thread topics.
v1.13 - 11/22/11 - Added integrated photos where available.
v1.12 - 11/22/11 - Added multiple input boxes for additional refinement, negative search criteria (eg. -keyword).
v1.11 - 11/22/11 - Added banding code, species look-up. Also direct link to recent eBird observations.
 v1.1 - 11/22/11 - Added 'date' functionality. Shows top 'month/year' combinations for a query. Restrict results to that 'month/year'.
 v1.0 - 11/21/11 - Initial version coded. Currently archiving 'lacobirds' and 'calbirds'.