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Old Tuesday 19th March 2019, 13:56   #101
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If the ebird admins had a sense of humour they would put the dreaded "Specific locations are not available for this taxon. See our Sensitive Species page for more information" message, together with a few pixellated purple squares somewhere in Louisiana.
If you set 'all dates', you get a number of the old records including Singer Tract, but nothing since late 1930s?.

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Old Tuesday 19th March 2019, 14:14   #102
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I find complaints of American-centric names funny, given that the BOU disbanded there own taxonomic committee IIRC. It's like complaining about a rival sports team winning when your own team never even showed up at the match.
Thast's no reason to overwrite, established names.
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Old Tuesday 19th March 2019, 14:36   #103
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Thast's no reason to abandon, established names.
I'm not really sure what you are talking about. For me, at least, ebird uses "British" names for birds found in both continents - for example, Grey Plover (with an 'e' no less), Brunnich's Guillemot and Shore Lark. I can't even get the US names (Black-bellied Plover, Horned Lark etc) in the drop down menu.

I can't remember if I set this as a user-option, if if ebird just defaults based on geographical location.

In any event, even if it didn't do this, since it is a superb resource provided by our friends across the Pond for free, there is no way I would criticize them for such an egregious lack of cultural sensitivity.
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Old Tuesday 19th March 2019, 14:43   #104
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If you set 'all dates', you get a number of the old records including Singer Tract, but nothing since late 1930s?.

cheers, alan
Seems that way for the continental form - Singer Tract, April 1935; with some rather poignant non-Jonny-view photos. April 49 for Cuba.
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Old Tuesday 19th March 2019, 14:45   #105
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I'm not really sure what you are talking about. For me, at least, ebird uses "British" names for birds found in both continents - for example, Grey Plover (with an 'e' no less), Brunnich's Guillemot and Shore Lark. I can't even get the US names (Black-bellied Plover, Horned Lark etc) in the drop down menu.

I can't remember if I set this as a user-option, if if ebird just defaults based on geographical location.

In any event, even if it didn't do this, since it is a superb resource provided by our friends across the Pond for free, there is no way I would criticize them for such an egregious lack of cultural sensitivity.
Not the first time.
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Old Tuesday 19th March 2019, 15:53   #106
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I'm not really sure what you are talking about. For me, at least, ebird uses "British" names for birds found in both continents - for example, Grey Plover (with an 'e' no less), Brunnich's Guillemot and Shore Lark. I can't even get the US names (Black-bellied Plover, Horned Lark etc) in the drop down menu.

I can't remember if I set this as a user-option, if if ebird just defaults based on geographical location.

In any event, even if it didn't do this, since it is a superb resource provided by our friends across the Pond for free, there is no way I would criticize them for such an egregious lack of cultural sensitivity.
I explicitly set eBird to use IOC names and that's what I get - of course only for species eBird agrees with! My primary list is using the IOC taxonomy (with a couple of tweaks) using my own s/w and database - I've recently been reporting on eBird (in addition to my own database) simply because I use their data on planning trips and decided I should contribute in return irrespective of what I think of their taxonomy and it's no overhead in reality since I can do it my own way and then import to eBird.

For me it's not about national names or whether it's American or not - I prefer IOC simply because it's more reactive especially to research being done here in Asia. Cornell is simply way behind on "obvious" things let alone recent research. So what if IOC occasionally gets ahead and then reverses - the research is dynamic so the taxonomy can be as well.

HBW Alive I value due to the species pages (I don't use the MyBirding functions) - the descriptions, subspecies groupings etc which I read in parallel with other sources. Losing this is my main concern with this takeover.
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Old Tuesday 19th March 2019, 17:28   #107
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I'm not really sure what you are talking about. For me, at least, ebird uses "British" names for birds found in both continents - for example, Grey Plover (with an 'e' no less), Brunnich's Guillemot and Shore Lark. I can't even get the US names (Black-bellied Plover, Horned Lark etc) in the drop down menu.

I can't remember if I set this as a user-option, if if ebird just defaults based on geographical location.

In any event, even if it didn't do this, since it is a superb resource provided by our friends across the Pond for free, there is no way I would criticize them for such an egregious lack of cultural sensitivity.
Indeed I think eBird does its best to reach out to worldwide users. In the upper right of the website is a language option and while not completely comprehensive, it is nice to have options for non-English and non-western participation. The bird name language for checklists is even more inclusive with twelve options for English, including not only U.K. and U.S. but Australia, South Africa, the U.A.E and and IOC nomenclature. There are even more Spanish options. If you are curious, these are in "preferences" at the dropdown by your name on the upper right of any eBird webpage once you are signed in.

Accusations of forced "American" (meaning U.S?) nomenclature don't seem well-founded to me.
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Old Tuesday 19th March 2019, 21:36   #108
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If you are curious, these are in "preferences" at the dropdown by your name on the upper right of any eBird webpage once you are signed in.

Accusations of forced "American" (meaning U.S?) nomenclature don't seem well-founded to me.
Ah you beat me to it Kirk. I recall setting language preference to "Bringlish" after registering.

Sorry guys. eBird is a joy! I lose myself for hour upon hour exploring the world through its portal.
If you can't share this I feel a little sorry for you!
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Old Tuesday 19th March 2019, 23:45   #109
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I can't remember if I set this as a user-option, if if ebird just defaults based on geographical location.
It's a user-set option. Someone who doesn't have an account will get enforced American names (e.g. 'Grey Plover' gets "No Matches").
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Originally Posted by Kirk Roth View Post
Indeed I think eBird does its best to reach out to worldwide users. In the upper right of the website is a language option and while not completely comprehensive, it is nice to have options for non-English and non-western participation. The bird name language for checklists is even more inclusive with twelve options for English, including not only U.K. and U.S. but Australia, South Africa, the U.A.E and and IOC nomenclature. There are even more Spanish options. If you are curious, these are in "preferences" at the dropdown by your name on the upper right of any eBird webpage once you are signed in.

Accusations of forced "American" (meaning U.S?) nomenclature don't seem well-founded to me.
This is where I'd disagree. You have to sign up to it first to discover whether it might (or might not) be available in your own language. Everyone comes to ebird for the first time as an unregistered person; you get forced American without any indication of other options being available. This must put a lot of people off from signing up in the first place. If you want to reach out more to worldwide users, make all of the names (e.g. Grey Plover, Pluvier argenté, Тулес, นกหัวโตสีเทา, etc.) give results when entered in the search box by unregistered visitors, rather than just Black-bellied Plover. And make the default name for data output to third parties (e.g. for publication in scientific journals) the scientific name.
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Old Wednesday 20th March 2019, 07:37   #110
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It's a user-set option. Someone who doesn't have an account will get enforced American names (e.g. 'Grey Plover' gets "No Matches").

This is where I'd disagree. You have to sign up to it first to discover whether it might (or might not) be available in your own language. Everyone comes to ebird for the first time as an unregistered person; you get forced American without any indication of other options being available. This must put a lot of people off from signing up in the first place. If you want to reach out more to worldwide users, make all of the names (e.g. Grey Plover, Pluvier argenté, Тулес, นกหัวโตสีเทา, etc.) give results when entered in the search box by unregistered visitors, rather than just Black-bellied Plover. And make the default name for data output to third parties (e.g. for publication in scientific journals) the scientific name.
A petty argument I think - it is an American created project, yet they have gone to considerable effort to incorporate a range of global names (over 60 language options available). If it is so important for you, simply sign up and get the option to personalize the site, no big deal. No American imperialism on ebird, quite some small island mentality in the complaints against. If 'a lot of ' people are put off by the requirements to sign up to get British English, and I doubt many are, then it is their loss, the site in reality offers everything they need.

Besides, if you are accessing ebird by google, probably how many first time users access the site, the use of Grey Plover does bring you directly to the correct page.
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Old Wednesday 20th March 2019, 09:13   #111
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I don't have a problem with Clements as long one can switch between taxonomies (and the info related to non-accepted splits / lumps by Clements can be entered within sightings).

I do have a problem with how ebird manages (or better screws) location data for sightings.

Hotspots are the single worst possible way of location data entry...

1. All research based on ebird data should completely avoid using hotspot data, e.g.if they want to link sightings of particular birds with habitat.

2. While I trawl ebird data for recent sightings in order to prepare travels, many many many sightings are either in a hotspot and often a list of 5 kilometers for 8 hours, so you cannot even guess where exactly they birded. And very very often, hotspots markers are miles (or kilometers) away from the actual location they should have been placed (e.g. hotspot: name of nature reserve, location in the middle of the nearby city...). Last, there are many occasions where you have 2-3 hotspots with the same name in the same general area.

For those reasons above, please please use inaturalist or observation. They have great apps, you can fill in all info (male / female / plumage / behaviour / ... ) for each sighting, and location info is exactly the position from where you saw the bird, which can ofcourse be adjusted to the position of the bird (e.g. if the bird is on a cliff or at sea while you are on land). This is how location data should be managed, as it is the single most important feature of any online birding platform wishing to be a reliable source of data for research (like trip reports with GPS are the most valuable to rely on preparing a trip).

To conclude: ebird is best at visualising (poor) geo-coded data, while others are worse at visualising (excellent) geo-coded data...I have been hitting the same nail for some time and would welcome any insight from people close to ebird, because I simply cannot understand that a group of highly talented people at Cornell are allowing this.
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Old Wednesday 20th March 2019, 09:40   #112
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I don't have a problem with Clements as long one can switch between taxonomies (and the info related to non-accepted splits / lumps by Clements can be entered within sightings).
The problem is eBird doesn't support this and apparently isn't planning to any time soon i.e. it's only the Clements taxonomy even if you tell it to use IOC names since this is just the name not the IOC taxonomy.
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Old Wednesday 20th March 2019, 10:56   #113
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Hotspots are the single worst possible way of location data entry...
(...)

For those reasons above, please please use inaturalist or observation.
You are not forced to use hotspots in ebird, you can add data for every location you want, as precise as you want.

I guess the strenght of ebird is that it caters to many types of users. It works for those who are scientifically meticulous in their recording habits, but also for those who are rather casual in their approach and just want enter a day list for a general area.

For birding trip planning, hotspot data is absolutely fine. For birders, ebird is way more powerful than e.g. the ornitho platforms (I don't really know observado etc.).

I'm not a scientist, so I can't judge this side of the data use. But I guess that beyond the issue with precise location, there are many other types of bias that need to be filtererd out when doing scientific analyisis of data collected in citicens science projects.
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Old Wednesday 20th March 2019, 13:32   #114
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I don't have a problem with Clements as long one can switch between taxonomies (and the info related to non-accepted splits / lumps by Clements can be entered within sightings).

I do have a problem with how ebird manages (or better screws) location data for sightings.

Hotspots are the single worst possible way of location data entry...

1. All research based on ebird data should completely avoid using hotspot data, e.g.if they want to link sightings of particular birds with habitat.

2. While I trawl ebird data for recent sightings in order to prepare travels, many many many sightings are either in a hotspot and often a list of 5 kilometers for 8 hours, so you cannot even guess where exactly they birded. And very very often, hotspots markers are miles (or kilometers) away from the actual location they should have been placed (e.g. hotspot: name of nature reserve, location in the middle of the nearby city...). Last, there are many occasions where you have 2-3 hotspots with the same name in the same general area.

For those reasons above, please please use inaturalist or observation. They have great apps, you can fill in all info (male / female / plumage / behaviour / ... ) for each sighting, and location info is exactly the position from where you saw the bird, which can ofcourse be adjusted to the position of the bird (e.g. if the bird is on a cliff or at sea while you are on land). This is how location data should be managed, as it is the single most important feature of any online birding platform wishing to be a reliable source of data for research (like trip reports with GPS are the most valuable to rely on preparing a trip).

To conclude: ebird is best at visualising (poor) geo-coded data, while others are worse at visualising (excellent) geo-coded data...I have been hitting the same nail for some time and would welcome any insight from people close to ebird, because I simply cannot understand that a group of highly talented people at Cornell are allowing this.
The entry of every different bird at its own location is good for some uses but not for analyses of abundance, where checklists that are labeled complete and do not contain a given bird also have a value relative to the presence and detectability of that bird. (And yes, there is a whole kettle of problems with complete vs non-complete checklists, but the massive nature of the ebird database still allows some great output).

Niels
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Old Wednesday 20th March 2019, 13:49   #115
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You are not forced to use hotspots in ebird, you can add data for every location you want, as precise as you want.

I guess the strenght of ebird is that it caters to many types of users. It works for those who are scientifically meticulous in their recording habits, but also for those who are rather casual in their approach and just want enter a day list for a general area.

For birding trip planning, hotspot data is absolutely fine. For birders, ebird is way more powerful than e.g. the ornitho platforms (I don't really know observado etc.).

I'm not a scientist, so I can't judge this side of the data use. But I guess that beyond the issue with precise location, there are many other types of bias that need to be filtererd out when doing scientific analyisis of data collected in citicens science projects.

The other utility of the hotspot data is that it can be pooled into graphs and bar charts, and so will give abundance and seasonal data for a particular spot. When sightings are geographically located to their individual spots, there are two weaknesses involving bulk data analysis - 1) it take sophisticated software to customize your location to make it relevant (especially important with elevation differences involved) and 2) it means that checklists must be broken up into whatever you may deem to be the appropriate distance between them, rather than entering a morning's worth of bird sightings. That said, Cornell does encourage and prefer sighting entry to the most specific locations possible - but hotspots are there for a reason. If you use the program to research a particular park or hotspot you plan on visiting, the utility is immediately evident, as opposed to having to look up individual species in individual locations below the county level.

The bottom line is that eBird can be used either way. However, hotspots will always be there to provide use for people interested in general birding. For those interested in the scientific microgeography of bird distributions, they just contact Cornell and get the data for whatever project they are working on - exclusive of the hotspot data if need be.

I'll also mention that my understanding is that there are not redundant names for hotspots. Often they are broken down into a compromise situation, so for example one may be called "Big Wildife Refuge (please consider using a more specific location)" and there may be others that are "Big Wildlife Refuge - Trail 1" and "Big Wildlife Refuge - Duck Pond" and so on. These are most useful in my opinion at hitting better specificity, but also allowing for bulk data analysis for the laypersons.
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Old Wednesday 20th March 2019, 14:02   #116
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A petty argument I think - it is an American created project, yet they have gone to considerable effort to incorporate a range of global names (over 60 language options available). If it is so important for you, simply sign up and get the option to personalize the site, no big deal. No American imperialism on ebird, quite some small island mentality in the complaints against. If 'a lot of ' people are put off by the requirements to sign up to get British English, and I doubt many are, then it is their loss, the site in reality offers everything they need.

Besides, if you are accessing ebird by google, probably how many first time users access the site, the use of Grey Plover does bring you directly to the correct page.
By the same original logic, I suppose I should complain about the agony of having to see the word "encyclopaedia" at the top of Bird Forum every time I log in. Its amazing that a British-based website would not cater immediately and automatically to my U.S. spelling preferences!

I know that some will try hard to find problems no matter what, but there are 450,000 users and over 34 million checklists in the system from those who are able to overcome their quibbles with it. I'm not saying eBird is without its faults - it must continue to improve as it has since the early 2000s - but frankly there are much bigger problems than this one, which I think the majority of users would believe is practically solved already.
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Old Wednesday 20th March 2019, 14:12   #117
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Relative to the discussion of hotspots, there are two recent improvements that should be mentioned:
1 the app for entry now is using the phone's GPS function to record a track of where the birding really was done.
2 some areas have had their outline recorded into the ebird system, meaning that a track falling into that area automatically can by output as a part of that location. It is my impression that eventually, this will spread to more and more locations

these two improvements when fully implemented will do away with the need for choosing a hotspot except for data entered on a device after the fact.

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Old Wednesday 20th March 2019, 17:11   #118
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Relative to the discussion of hotspots, there are two recent improvements that should be mentioned:
1 the app for entry now is using the phone's GPS function to record a track of where the birding really was done.
2 some areas have had their outline recorded into the ebird system, meaning that a track falling into that area automatically can by output as a part of that location. It is my impression that eventually, this will spread to more and more locations

these two improvements when fully implemented will do away with the need for choosing a hotspot except for data entered on a device after the fact.

Niels
That's what I would suggest as well, and I am quite happy it's going this way.

It really doesn't take any effort with an app on your phone to enter every sighting and get the correct GPS for that sighting included in the observation.

Any good software can pick out all sightings within a certain range or with map overlays within a certain habitat. I feel hotspots were initially aimed for what Niels said (compiling complete checklists), but there is really no reason to allow, nowadays, that input data are already lumped before actually putting them into the database.

You actually allow the observer to make mistakes / lump data / omit accuracy and specific info per species / observation, without any good reason. If ebird would aknowledge that, the database could be solely fed, starting from tomorrow, with clean app data that are GPS-logged observations. Those observations could be finallyuseful to filter individual species + location, and also still useful to make bar charts of hotspots, by simply including all observations within a (pre-defined) GIS polygon that determines a hotspot for those that still want to extract those data.

I can name 100ths of examples of wrong hotspots or birds of lower altitude lumped in a hotspot at higher altitude that was coincidentally visited the same day... just look at a map (I am preparing an India trip) of Indian Spotted Creeper in Tal Chhappar. Some sightings are included in the hotspot "Tal Chhapar sanctuary". The location of that hotspot is in the middle of the Blackbuck sanctuary. It turns out hardly anyone sees this bird in the sanctuary, so any sightings in that hotspot are absolutely worthless to find the bird. Another hotspot "Tal Chhapar WLS -- Gaushala area" is a bit closer to the sightings, but still, you can't really conclude anything else than some people have seen the bird in the general area of Tal Chhappar. I agree double hotspots are technically not there, but people don't use the nuance of a very near hotspot and most put everything in one hotspot, whether another hotspot is actually closer to their sightings or not.

Those kind of lumping of data should just not happen. The observers have the tools (smartphones with GPS) to give far more accuracy and information, so just skip the hotspot part and let people fill in the same list of 50-100 species per day with spatial data instead of lumped data.

The only reason I can think of why ebird is still using hotspots, is because data visualisation in their maps is probably quicker to render. But that quick solution is in the long term not the best solution, and rendering data goes a lot quicker these days than e.g. 5 years ago.
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Old Wednesday 20th March 2019, 17:59   #119
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It's a user-set option. Someone who doesn't have an account will get enforced American names (e.g. 'Grey Plover' gets "No Matches").
Did you try it since the last time you complained?

What do you get searching for Grey Plover without logging in whilst based in the UK now?
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Old Wednesday 20th March 2019, 22:10   #120
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Did you try it since the last time you complained?

What do you get searching for Grey Plover without logging in whilst based in the UK now?
Yes; this, printscreen just now:
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Old Thursday 21st March 2019, 00:01   #121
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Yes; this, printscreen just now:
That's odd. I get Grey Plover and I'm based in Portugal. I get the "Grey Plover" result either by searching directly on ebird (as you did) or by entering Grey Plover + ebird on Google.
I get two options for Portuguese as well, for Portuguese of Portugal and Portuguese of Brazil (common names differ between both for a number of species), respectively Tarambola-cinzenta and Batuiruçu-de-axila-preta (which Portuguese birders don't use and find dreadful etc... similar "problem" to what you have between the UK and US...).
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Old Thursday 21st March 2019, 08:08   #122
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That's odd. I get Grey Plover and I'm based in Portugal. I get the "Grey Plover" result either by searching directly on ebird (as you did) or by entering Grey Plover + ebird on Google.
I get two options for Portuguese as well, for Portuguese of Portugal and Portuguese of Brazil (common names differ between both for a number of species), respectively Tarambola-cinzenta and Batuiruçu-de-axila-preta (which Portuguese birders don't use and find dreadful etc... similar "problem" to what you have between the UK and US...).
I get different results depending which browser I'm using, all on Windows. Searching for Grey Plover works fine with Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer and Opera but does not with Chrome or Firefox.
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Old Thursday 21st March 2019, 09:11   #123
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Originally Posted by Kirk Roth View Post
By the same original logic, I suppose I should complain about the agony of having to see the word "encyclopaedia" at the top of Bird Forum every time I log in. Its amazing that a British-based website would not cater immediately and automatically to my U.S. spelling preferences!

I know that some will try hard to find problems no matter what, but there are 450,000 users and over 34 million checklists in the system from those who are able to overcome their quibbles with it. I'm not saying eBird is without its faults - it must continue to improve as it has since the early 2000s - but frankly there are much bigger problems than this one, which I think the majority of users would believe is practically solved already.
The spellchecker does.
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Old Thursday 21st March 2019, 16:09   #124
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I get different results depending which browser I'm using, all on Windows. Searching for Grey Plover works fine with Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer and Opera but does not with Chrome or Firefox.
Very strange! Using firefox here.
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Old Thursday 21st March 2019, 16:15   #125
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Very strange! Using firefox here.
I've been having lots of issues with Win7 and Firefox so have stopped using the latter.
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