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Best Website To Log Sightings, UK

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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 16:40   #1
Louis_P
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Best Website To Log Sightings, UK

Hello,

I'm starting to get into logging my sightings and lists online, and at the moment I'm leaning towards using eBird, but what does everyone else think is best and why?

Thanks,
Louis

P.S. - surely there's a recent thread somewhere on the forums about this. If so, a link would be appreciated.
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 16:48   #2
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BTOs Birdtrack. Check it out, it's free.
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 16:51   #3
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I use eBird and am very satisfied with it but haven't tried any others
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 17:19   #4
Louis_P
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Thanks, I have looked at BirdTrack, but I couldn't see anywhere where lists are stored. I might be wrong though.
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Old Friday 22nd November 2019, 08:16   #5
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If you're into taking pics and sound recording, eBird is the way forwards
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Old Monday 25th November 2019, 06:15   #6
Louis_P
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Okay, thanks. I do like to take photos and sound recordings, so I'll try eBird.
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Old Monday 25th November 2019, 12:02   #7
temmie
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What do ebirders do if they want to log e.g. the following:

you walk around for a full day, walking e.g. around 10 kilometers through forest, open area, ... and log 50 species of birds in different habitats.

Do you log them all in one list? Do you log them in more than one list (depending on availability of a hotspot for example)? Or do you log every sighting separately (and does the system log GPS of each sighting)?
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Old Monday 25th November 2019, 13:34   #8
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in Ebird, the unit of observation is the trip, and one of the most important things is to enter all species identified (complete list). A trip should be limited in time and habitat to the largest extent possible, so what the person you describe should do is to start a list at the start of the day. When coming to the first major habitat break, stop that list and start a new one. Repeat for each habitat break. If you are entering using your phone in real time, then there will be a GPS track of where you were while making this list. There will not be a fix for each species on the list, which fits well with how most people do this for more common species: walk several minutes keeping a mental list and then enter those - walk some more and interrupt for entering, etc. IF there is a restaurant where you enter and eat lunch midway, then stop you list, eat, and start a new list when continuing.

Niels

PS: another example would be a pelagic. On that, the ideal is to break it down into roughly half hour sections with the track running each time; that allows for near coast observations to be in a different list than those further out, and if there are county lines getting crossed, most observations will be in the right county. A list including both the sparrow on the dock and the albatross 50 k out is not very useful.
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Old Tuesday 26th November 2019, 05:55   #9
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Thanks for clarifying, Niels!
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Old Tuesday 26th November 2019, 07:59   #10
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just for the record, this is how I do it:

I use the iObs app and whenever I see a bird, I put the bird into the app.
date, time, species and especially GPS is logged. Of each and every single bird (*).
This takes approx. 10 seconds per sighting.

(*) When travelling, I don't log all birds all the time. After the first couple of days, I log as much as I can, but I don't log all roadside Cattle Egrets, Rufous-colored sparrows, house sparrows,... for example.
I still log as many species as possible if I change from one area to another, in order to cover as many subspecies as possible.

Ofcourse, there are some pitfalls:
1. if you are looking at a lake, the app will log the GPS where you are standing, not where the bird is. The advantage is that you know where another observer has actually been in order to see the bird. If the coordinate is in the middle of a lake, you sometimes don't know where is the best viewpoint.
2. when looking at a multi-species flock, I am not logging all of those separately, but I log one, I keep looking until the flock has gone and I copy all other species based on the date / time / GPS of the first bird. This looks a bit like the ebird design of a checklist, as more birds are seen at one coordinate.

But the way ebird is designed (and seemingly most used), it encourages people to lump exact coordinates into hotspots and half-day or full-day checklists, and as a consequence, ebird is often a pain in the neck trying to retrieve locations of trails, habitat, viewpoints, stake-outs, twitchable birds,...compared to databases that do log all that information. You have the perfect tools (smartphone) that can log all that GPS info, and the best you can do is to design a system that lumps all that GPS info into something that is half-usable for preparing a trip abroad or checking if a certain bird is still present at your local patch...?

I have, ad nauseam, been saying that ebird is flawed by this GPS-lump design, but the only response I am getting from people working at ebird is a defensive one. They seem to look at my comments as an attack while the only thing I would like is a better system!
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Old Tuesday 26th November 2019, 12:25   #11
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I feel that there is a difference in purpose which I will elaborate below, but first a question: with that flock on the lake, do you ever input how many of each species?

I am not an official spokesperson for ebird, so this stands for me and my personal understanding of things. However, ebird and the reporting system I knew in Denmark before moving away from there have the same purpose: to be able to document changes in occurrence of a given species over time in a local area as well as on larger scale, and secondly to be able to document conservation value of a given area. Helping a person go out and find a given bird was never the purpose. With those purposes, trip lists is the only thing that makes sense, and especially those that are complete. If a given observer used to be able to document a given species every second time he was in a given area, and now it is only every 10th time, that says something about a decline in how common that species is. Obviously, you want to also know how much time is spent in that area each time.

Actually recording the tracks helps with this in several ways, but also helps with the purpose of a twitcher compared to no track. However, there were a lot of complaints about battery drain on the smartphone when that became possible. I have not really looked for the track of other peoples checklists, so I do not know how easy they are to visualize. Taking this to the point of making the time/recording spot of each bird a part of the information saved would need a complete rewrite of the database as well as cause a lot of technical problems for the app.

best
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Old Tuesday 26th November 2019, 13:05   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njlarsen View Post
I feel that there is a difference in purpose which I will elaborate below, but first a question: with that flock on the lake, do you ever input how many of each species?

I am not an official spokesperson for ebird, so this stands for me and my personal understanding of things. However, ebird and the reporting system I knew in Denmark before moving away from there have the same purpose: to be able to document changes in occurrence of a given species over time in a local area as well as on larger scale, and secondly to be able to document conservation value of a given area. Helping a person go out and find a given bird was never the purpose. With those purposes, trip lists is the only thing that makes sense, and especially those that are complete. If a given observer used to be able to document a given species every second time he was in a given area, and now it is only every 10th time, that says something about a decline in how common that species is. Obviously, you want to also know how much time is spent in that area each time.

Actually recording the tracks helps with this in several ways, but also helps with the purpose of a twitcher compared to no track. However, there were a lot of complaints about battery drain on the smartphone when that became possible. I have not really looked for the track of other peoples checklists, so I do not know how easy they are to visualize. Taking this to the point of making the time/recording spot of each bird a part of the information saved would need a complete rewrite of the database as well as cause a lot of technical problems for the app.

best
Niels
The tracks in a checklist are not visible to other eBird users. They are not even visible to eBird reviewers. I am not sure if they are visible to anyone, other than the checklist owner.

As you said, eBird is a research tool, it is not designed to be a tool for people to find a bird that someone else has found previously. Although, that is how many people view it, and it can be quite useful that way. If I see a bird that I know others will want to chase, I will add either exact gps coordinates or a detailed description of the location to the checklist.
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Old Wednesday 27th November 2019, 15:09   #13
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Hi Niels and jmepler,

first of all, I am totally impaired towards each and every database. I have no shares, no hate nor blind love for one or the other. I am just looking at what is on the 'market' and how it would be improved (in my very personal opinion).

eBird is obviously the biggest and just the amount of users makes it the most reliable for having up-to-date info on certain species at most locations around the world. For me, it's just missing that last bit of the puzzle (GPS) that, in my opinion, is crucial for both users (like me) as for research.

For users, having exact GPS is so much more comfortable when you are in a totally strange place looking for a bird, and for researchers, the exact location enables researchers to link habitat to bird sightings (this is now flawed by the ebird design, only big patterns can be retrieved).

That crucial missing piece of the puzzle is technologically very much available (GPS location is very much the center tool for many smartphone apps), and it should be possible to implement it in the current database infrastructure (I say should, as it could maybe need a whole new design of the database (I am not a database design expert) and/or the visualisation of the ebird map on the website (I fear having flags for every sighting at exact GPS would be too much data to visualize without having problems loading the map).

So I am wondering why it isn't implemented (yet?).

I can agree that eBird is a research tool that doesn't have to be designed for certain users, but at the other hand, like many big applications eBird gets your data for free, and the carrot they are holding is a user-friendly website and system to get an overview of your data, and a look into the whole dataset in order to be inspired to go out birding and looking for birds. It works in two ways. For the (free) data they get daily, and in order to lure more people using their system, they could make some improvements...

@ Niels: when I am at a lake, I input 6 smews, 5 goldeneyes of which 1 male and 4 female, 8 northern pintails, etcetera etcetera. So yes, everything. Some people only input new birds, or one special bird at a location, etcetera. I don't think this is any different between databases: it is still the user (and the ability of the user to detect every single species) who decides if he inputs everything or not.
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Old Wednesday 27th November 2019, 16:52   #14
njlarsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by temmie View Post
Hi Niels and jmepler,

first of all, I am totally impaired towards each and every database. I have no shares, no hate nor blind love for one or the other. I am just looking at what is on the 'market' and how it would be improved (in my very personal opinion).

eBird is obviously the biggest and just the amount of users makes it the most reliable for having up-to-date info on certain species at most locations around the world. For me, it's just missing that last bit of the puzzle (GPS) that, in my opinion, is crucial for both users (like me) as for research.

For users, having exact GPS is so much more comfortable when you are in a totally strange place looking for a bird, and for researchers, the exact location enables researchers to link habitat to bird sightings (this is now flawed by the ebird design, only big patterns can be retrieved).

That crucial missing piece of the puzzle is technologically very much available (GPS location is very much the center tool for many smartphone apps), and it should be possible to implement it in the current database infrastructure (I say should, as it could maybe need a whole new design of the database (I am not a database design expert) and/or the visualisation of the ebird map on the website (I fear having flags for every sighting at exact GPS would be too much data to visualize without having problems loading the map).

So I am wondering why it isn't implemented (yet?).

I can agree that eBird is a research tool that doesn't have to be designed for certain users, but at the other hand, like many big applications eBird gets your data for free, and the carrot they are holding is a user-friendly website and system to get an overview of your data, and a look into the whole dataset in order to be inspired to go out birding and looking for birds. It works in two ways. For the (free) data they get daily, and in order to lure more people using their system, they could make some improvements...

@ Niels: when I am at a lake, I input 6 smews, 5 goldeneyes of which 1 male and 4 female, 8 northern pintails, etcetera etcetera. So yes, everything. Some people only input new birds, or one special bird at a location, etcetera. I don't think this is any different between databases: it is still the user (and the ability of the user to detect every single species) who decides if he inputs everything or not.
Thanks Temmie, especially for the last paragraph -- it was difficult for me to know what you did, and related, what the app you are using would allow you to do.

Niels
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Old Wednesday 27th November 2019, 18:48   #15
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For the UK: is eBird used much yet by County Recorders? (or is UK data getting lost and not reaching local databases?) Does the spatial data get converted into UK grid references or does the county recorder have to convert it?

If at all possible, you should go for a recording system that is favoured by the relevant county recorder as the data is important and used for various things including for conservation and planning purposes. Ultimately, the data should reach your local environmental record centre (as well as your local bird group).

More info on UK local record centres here: http://www.alerc.org.uk/lerc-finder.html

Each individual centre should provide information on county recorders and their recommendations of submitting data.

For logging lists, what about Bubo?
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Old Wednesday 27th November 2019, 21:04   #16
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I use Birdwatchers diary (IOS and Android). It has the facility to upload directly to eBird. There's a review of it here:
https://www.birdguides.com/reviews/b...ers-diary-app/
The review is 4 year's old but I don't think that the app has changed much in that time - probably because it pretty much does everything required for logging in the field.
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Old Thursday 5th December 2019, 23:48   #17
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I suggest that you use ebird.
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