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Old Tuesday 19th November 2013, 18:34   #1
ovenbird43
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Listing Burnout

I've kept a number of different lists for probably 8 or 9 years now- life, country/region, state, and year lists mostly. But this year I've been struggling to keep them all up-to-date, and have started viewing the updates as a chore rather than as a pleasant wrap-up to an outing. I started falling behind this spring, in a flurry of PhD defense, graduation reward trip to Thailand, and starting my new job all in the space of about 3 weeks. I didn't finishing updating my lists from the Thailand trip until the end of summer, and I've pretty much given up on my 2013 list. I'm not bringing this up in hopes of advice on reinvigorating my interest in listing- I still get as much pleasure as ever from birding, and from salivating over field guides in preparation for international trips, so I'm not concerned. And I'll definitely still update my life list- I keep an excel sheet with the species, date, and place of my first encounter, which is fun to revisit on occasion. I'm just curious to hear your stories of lists you like to keep or don't like to keep, and if your interest in listing in general (or in particular lists) has waxed and waned over the years.
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Old Tuesday 19th November 2013, 19:06   #2
Farnboro John
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I enjoy my lists but I don't spend equal effort on all of them.

My world list is not serious (only about 1300) but I like to know its there. I only go abroad once or twice a year so its not a big effort to do that and add in the odd lifer in the British Isles.

I don't keep a county list, because if I did I would have to go for any possible additions, and I live right up in the North-eastern corner of the county, away from the coast where most of the rarities arrive. Instead I keep a local list based on a ten mile radius from my house.

Year list - I've done 300+ a few times so these days its a matter of recording the birds, not chasing them. This year is 229 at the moment.

Scilly List - I first went to Scilly in 1984 and I've been back most years since. It now stands at 300, which I guess was a target. I don't get twitchy when Scilly ticks turn up and I'm not there. Usually.

Month lists - I use one of those green logbooks to keep track of what birds I've seen in each month, so if I'm bored I can check if I've ever seen an easy species in the month and then I have an instant target. October and May are the two longest month lists: October is over 400 spp but I'm not sure about May. It must be close. Oh - I need Red-breasted Goose for November. That's Saturday sorted then....

Mind you, if I've got stuff going on, I might not check the logbook all year. This might be because I'm chasing dragonflies, butterflies, mammals or at a pinch, Second World War aeroplanes, either for listing purposes or to photograph them. I have photo lists too - especially of things I haven't photographed yet!

I generally compile a trip list on any trip over three or four days.

I also venture into day-listing occasionally: I have a sort of self-imposed target of doing at least one century day out every year. Often its 1st January but sometimes its nice to do it during spring migration. 126 in May is my best but I'm probably prouder of 112 on 1 January once.

The fundamental thing, though, that I do it because I enjoy it. That's the only reason for doing any aspect of any hobby.

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Old Wednesday 20th November 2013, 07:42   #3
kitefarrago
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Assuming we are only talking about birds, for the moment, why not use a piece of software where you enter whatever sightings you care about, and which then creates lists for you? In other word, there is no need to update specific lists (and possibly enter specific birds onto more lists than one, if it's a lifer and also new for country, year, etc). At least that would mean just entering sightings, rather than worrying about maintaining a number of separate lists.

I use Scythebill which works for all the major operating systems and arranges your records into text-files with xml tags, so you don't have to worry about the actual data becoming unaccessible because the program is no longer maintained. You can add your own locations to an arbitrary level of detail, so then creating John's `seen within 10 miles from my house' could be easily generated whenever he wants a look at it.

I do apologize if I've misunderstood the issue at hand. I have no connection with Scythebill (which is free) other than being a happy user.

It'd be lovely to keep, say, a mammal list in a similar way, but where that taxonomic info is going to come from I have no clue. At least with birds there are taxonomic authorities which are well supported by software applications.

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Old Thursday 21st November 2013, 18:21   #4
ovenbird43
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I've never tried any birding software. I do enter many of my sightings into eBird, but I don't view it as a viable list-keeping option, at least in my case. There are lots of times when I am not birding in a manner that is optimal for an eBird submission- I may be out running when I see/hear a new bird for the year, or I'm out birding all day during an international trip and too busy learning the new birds to count individuals of everything or keep track of miles/hectares covered and whatnot. I once went through and updated my eBird Arkansas state list to match the one I had kept in excel, and it was kind of a pain, it wasn't easy to enter things like White Ibis which I had once seen from the highway- I didn't even know in which county I had been driving. And the count of my current eBird "life list" is less than a third that of my actual life list- there's no way I'll ever get it updated.

All that said, I think for me it's less that I'm tired of keeping up with excel sheets, and more that I just don't care anymore how many birds I saw this year or whether x species is a new tick for the year. When I hear of a potential new state bird in my area I still get moderately interested, but not like I used to. So I'm just wondering if anyone else has ever lost interest in keeping particular lists- although perhaps I won't get many responses because they no longer browse the "Lists" subforum

EDIT: I think I'm essentially still interested in "year birding", in that I look forward to the return of all the migrants and will probably seek every one of them out. Perhaps what go to me this year was moving across the country mid-year, therefore "missing" a lot of easy eastern species (like Eastern Wood-Pewee) that have made it onto every year list since I started birding. So maybe that prompted me to stop worrying about getting or missing a particular species for the year.

Last edited by ovenbird43 : Thursday 21st November 2013 at 18:38.
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Old Thursday 21st November 2013, 21:45   #5
Farnboro John
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitefarrago View Post
Assuming we are only talking about birds, for the moment, why not use a piece of software where you enter whatever sightings you care about, and which then creates lists for you? In other word, there is no need to update specific lists (and possibly enter specific birds onto more lists than one, if it's a lifer and also new for country, year, etc). At least that would mean just entering sightings, rather than worrying about maintaining a number of separate lists.

I use Scythebill which works for all the major operating systems and arranges your records into text-files with xml tags, so you don't have to worry about the actual data becoming unaccessible because the program is no longer maintained. You can add your own locations to an arbitrary level of detail, so then creating John's `seen within 10 miles from my house' could be easily generated whenever he wants a look at it.

I do apologize if I've misunderstood the issue at hand. I have no connection with Scythebill (which is free) other than being a happy user.

It'd be lovely to keep, say, a mammal list in a similar way, but where that taxonomic info is going to come from I have no clue. At least with birds there are taxonomic authorities which are well supported by software applications.

Andrea
You could ask tittletattler in a pm, his mum should be able to help if he hasn't the details himself.

Personally I like a nice tick in a hardback book: Mammals of the World A Checklist by Andrew Duff and Ann Lawson is just the job, and if it goes out of date at least it provides a level playing field. The only thing wrong with mine is it hasn't got enough ticks in it yet.

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Old Friday 22nd November 2013, 11:19   #6
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Originally Posted by Farnboro John View Post
Personally I like a nice tick in a hardback book: Mammals of the World A Checklist by Andrew Duff and Ann Lawson is just the job, and if it goes out of date at least it provides a level playing field. The only thing wrong with mine is it hasn't got enough ticks in it yet.
I've got that one (though I haven't brought ticks in there up to date for a while - need to find the time). But certainly major taxonomic shifts would make sorting out what's what into a nightmare.

I'm also only a semi-serious mammal lister, I guess - I'm not interested in trapping, which means I'll never get to grips with vast swathes of smaller mammals. I'd be quite happy to concentrate on those that punch in above a minimal weight.

Thanks for mentioning this possibility, though!

Andrea
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Old Monday 25th November 2013, 02:09   #7
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Lists should be for fun. If it isn't fun don't push it as it will become even less fun the more you push. Only do what is enjoyable to keep it enjoyable. Otherwise what's the point?

All I keep is a life list and it's more an organized photo album in PowerPoint. I only count birds that I have an identifiable photo of that I shot myself. My birding is oriented around the photo. No photo and it doesn't count.

I have a similar "life list" for non-bird animals that I split off from birds a while ago because the PowerPoint was getting too large. That's where all the foxes, minks, woodchucks, turtles, snakes, crabs, etc... go.

Birds is a much larger file with many more pages.

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Old Thursday 26th December 2013, 13:42   #8
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I do a life List, a Country List for each country I visit and a year list. But I also keep photos of mammals, butterflies, damsel and dragonflies, amphibians and reptiles. I stopped doing moths as I know far too little about them and there are far too many to have to find on the internet. I also have photos of mushrooms, but the unidentified folder is probably larger than any other identified mushroom. For birds, I stopped doing local lists because it was just too much, trying to remember the exact location was. I got a gps for my camera for christmas so the photos will now have the location and therefore when I add the photos to photoshop essentials, the location is automatically shown on the map, so local lists have become obselete. Now I just need to up date my bird photos once a year, so its an ideal thing to do on cold inclement days in winter. Hmm, god must be a birder thinking of ending a year in wintertime
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Old Friday 22nd May 2015, 18:10   #9
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I used to keep a year list (which was great for noting arrival dates of migrants and added some excitement to Jan. 1 each year!) , a State List (when I lived in New York State) as well as my Life List.
It was too much after a while and my move to Maryland pretty much obviated the need to make changes to my New York State list.
Now I only maintain my Life List - which I only need to update when I see something new.
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Old Thursday 27th August 2015, 02:04   #10
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I have stopped keeping year lists. With kids it is too difficult to chase after species to add to a year list. The only lists I now maintain is a life list of life and a birding commute list. I halfheartedly submit to ebird. The thing I like least about ebird is counting the number of individuals of a species so I ebird only some of the time.
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Old Thursday 27th August 2015, 18:13   #11
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I have stopped keeping year lists. With kids it is too difficult to chase after species to add to a year list. The only lists I now maintain is a life list of life and a birding commute list. I halfheartedly submit to ebird. The thing I like least about ebird is counting the number of individuals of a species so I ebird only some of the time.
If your hang up with eBird is # for each species, just enter "X" - I do that for most of the common species when I'm casually birding.

The data is so incredibly valuable.
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Old Monday 31st August 2015, 01:25   #12
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I keep life lists of all groups, but not country or year lists, though sometimes I check eBird to see how my year is going. But I don't make efforts to increase that number.

I don't feel rushed to get more numbers, it is just a casual way to keep track of what I see, so I don't really feel any burnout. If any burnout occurs, it is being outside too much rather than listing.
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