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UK bird information services - which to use?

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Old Thursday 18th June 2020, 21:44   #1
interoception
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UK bird information services - which to use?

What are people's views on the Birdguides vs Rarebirdalert phone apps please??

The RBA app seems a bit outdated now compared with the recently update Birdguides app -- but actually it's the information I'm really interested in....so

1) do they both give approximately same information ? (i.e. the basic information on bird and location) -- or does one app have more birds on it than the other?

2) is one quicker at giving details, do notifications work better on one than the other?

3) are the apps dependent only on submissions to that service? or do the services draw on other sources of information (e.g. the local birding websites, each other etc)

4) are there other National services?

Not interested in pagers & I often use the county sites/twitter

thanks ever so much
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 09:19   #2
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A few thoughts:-

I've subscribed to RBA for many years, the "lads" I was birding with when pagers were introduced shared a subscription for the first few years.

I hope I’m not stating the flippin' obvious here but if you are out birding there will be areas where you won’t have mobile data coverage and so won’t hear the news from either (might be the only remaining benefit of a pager)

It’s alleged that they subscribe to each others service, so you won’t miss anything.
They subscribe to as many local birding WhatsApp groups as possible and so don’t miss out on much news.
They trawl through Twitter, Facebook and local bird news web pages hoping to catch all the up to date information.

It's probably going boil down to a simple financial decision.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 14:57   #3
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OK - thanks - that's helpful.

Rare Bird alert ~£159 per year
Birdguides ~70 per year

struggling to work out why such a price difference
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 17:42   #4
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Both appear to offer a free trial - try before you buy ?
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 19:18   #5
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Of course!

I asked the question as interested in others views.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 21:02   #6
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Originally Posted by interoception View Post
OK - thanks - that's helpful.

Rare Bird alert ~£159 per year
Birdguides ~70 per year

struggling to work out why such a price difference
Think you have answered the question.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 21:15   #7
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Historically RBA was primarily a pager-based service and Birdguides was primarily web-based, which accounted for the difference in pricing. As time went by RBA added web services and Birdguides introduced phone text alerts. At that time RBA pager news almost always arrived before Birdguides text alerts, which was obvious when users of both were in the same carload.

More recently both services have migrated towards using primarily smartphone apps, which does seem to negate any advantages of RBA, though I dislike the current Birdguides web interface compared to its predecessor.
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Old Saturday 20th June 2020, 14:47   #8
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Have been using BG for the past year and find the app inferior to RBA that I used before. The latest BG update has fixed one annoyance - it now tells you clearly what news was yesterday! But now it won't open on the phone first time and has to be closed and reopened to work. The biggest + for RBA was the ability to tap a species and all reports of it appeared and the same for a location where all species there would appear. Also the gallery isn't accessible on the BG app either. As to news reporting they both seem similar
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Old Sunday 21st June 2020, 01:43   #9
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I remember getting the bird guides 'thing' on my my new 'mobile' when it came out ! My phone also told the time ! About 1998? Birdguides didn't do news on Sundays then ! Not related to your post, just for a laugh !
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Old Sunday 21st June 2020, 07:36   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birdboybowley View Post
Have been using BG for the past year and find the app inferior to RBA that I used before. The latest BG update has fixed one annoyance - it now tells you clearly what news was yesterday! But now it won't open on the phone first time and has to be closed and reopened to work. The biggest + for RBA was the ability to tap a species and all reports of it appeared and the same for a location where all species there would appear. Also the gallery isn't accessible on the BG app either. As to news reporting they both seem similar
That’s weird about the closing and reopening - have you got an old phone? Doesn’t happen on my phone. Hopefully you have let them know so they can work on a fix.

You can now search by species or rarity, so you can get all reports - the location seems to be restricted to county. Would be nice if you could click through on a bird species to save searching though. The filters I guess save our favourite locations at county level.

I agree about the gallery, would be nice to have access through the app for the associated photos of the birds reported.
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Old Sunday 21st June 2020, 15:14   #11
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Got a Samsung 9+ so not that old....does the same to a mate's newer Samsung too. Maybe it doesn't like android!
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Old Sunday 21st June 2020, 15:25   #12
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Got a Samsung 9+ so not that old....does the same to a mate's newer Samsung too. Maybe it doesn't like android!
Works fine on my S9 - assume you have uninstalled, restarted, and reinstalled.

Would like the Collins Bird Guide linking, like is on iOS to be on android, hopefully that will come.
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Old Monday 22nd June 2020, 09:40   #13
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Thanks everyone -- I've not had the above problems with BG on my iPhone (using the trial).
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Old Monday 22nd June 2020, 11:18   #14
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OK - thanks - that's helpful.

Rare Bird alert ~£159 per year
Birdguides ~70 per year

struggling to work out why such a price difference
I think birdguides you have to pay extra for additional alerts through text messages (£10 for 100) whereas this is unlimited with RBA. May be wrong. So if you want all the news instantly then RBA is better for you.
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Old Monday 22nd June 2020, 12:46   #15
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I think birdguides you have to pay extra for additional alerts through text messages (£10 for 100) whereas this is unlimited with RBA. May be wrong. So if you want all the news instantly then RBA is better for you.
You can get push notifications through the Birdguides app though, pretty much the same end result. I did have the starter 100 text package, but never saw the point in buying more texts when the push notifications do the same thing pretty much.
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Old Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 09:51   #16
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In my humble opinion.
The only drawback with notifications to an App. or viewing information on an App. are that you probably want to receive information while you are "in the field".
From my limited experience (I have a pager and have paid scant attention to App. for bird news) mobile data is frequently severely limited at nature reserves. The last time it was at Minsmere I struggled to sent a text, 4G was completely absent. Same story at Rutland, Cley, Leighton Moss, Conwy, etc.
Of course, if you are sitting at home, on your WiFi, you will get all the news.

I'm not pushing pagers, if you don’t want one that’s your choice but I feel the next best option is to get text messages from your information supplier.
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Old Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 11:39   #17
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In my humble opinion.
The only drawback with notifications to an App. or viewing information on an App. are that you probably want to receive information while you are "in the field".
From my limited experience (I have a pager and have paid scant attention to App. for bird news) mobile data is frequently severely limited at nature reserves. The last time it was at Minsmere I struggled to sent a text, 4G was completely absent. Same story at Rutland, Cley, Leighton Moss, Conwy, etc.
Of course, if you are sitting at home, on your WiFi, you will get all the news.

I'm not pushing pagers, if you donít want one thatís your choice but I feel the next best option is to get text messages from your information supplier.
Yes definitely worth checking coverage of your mobile provider - at Cley for example I used to get no signal whatsoever - in recent times however I got really good coverage - guess the mast coverage is slowly getting there, but certainly a consideration if choosing what type of service you need.
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Old Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 11:47   #18
interoception
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Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
In my humble opinion.
The only drawback with notifications to an App. or viewing information on an App. are that you probably want to receive information while you are "in the field".
From my limited experience (I have a pager and have paid scant attention to App. for bird news) mobile data is frequently severely limited at nature reserves. The last time it was at Minsmere I struggled to sent a text, 4G was completely absent. Same story at Rutland, Cley, Leighton Moss, Conwy, etc.
Of course, if you are sitting at home, on your WiFi, you will get all the news.

I'm not pushing pagers, if you donít want one thatís your choice but I feel the next best option is to get text messages from your information supplier.
Completely agree with you regarding pagers, but I don't want one though as I wouldn't use it sufficiently to merit carrying it around with me etc etc. Whereas an app on a mobile phone is ideal for many people.

With regards to signal quality, my experience "in the field" is that data / sms is often 'flaky' rather than completely absent in many places with signal coming and going. So for an app to be useful, sufficient information needs to be delivered to the phone in the periods of signal, so that it can be acted on if necessary without need to reconnect.

When I tested out the RBA app last year the notifications of a bird would come through, but then I had to reconnect to get more details. That was frustrating. Perhaps that app has been updated now so that's not an issue any more. I've not got to test out the Birdguides app 'in the field' yet due to lockdown (other than in my local area which has mostly strong signal).
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Old Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 11:55   #19
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Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
In my humble opinion.
The only drawback with notifications to an App. or viewing information on an App. are that you probably want to receive information while you are "in the field".
From my limited experience (I have a pager and have paid scant attention to App. for bird news) mobile data is frequently severely limited at nature reserves. The last time it was at Minsmere I struggled to sent a text, 4G was completely absent. Same story at Rutland, Cley, Leighton Moss, Conwy, etc.
Of course, if you are sitting at home, on your WiFi, you will get all the news.

I'm not pushing pagers, if you donít want one thatís your choice but I feel the next best option is to get text messages from your information supplier.
With texts, if you're out of reception (applies to half of Northumbs too), they're stored until you get back into reception and then they flood in. With pagers, if you're out of reception, you lose the messages, permanently, as they are not stored.
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Old Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 20:12   #20
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With texts, if you're out of reception (applies to half of Northumbs too), they're stored until you get back into reception and then they flood in. With pagers, if you're out of reception, you lose the messages, permanently, as they are not stored.
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