Date: 4/1/17 5:05 pm
From: Karl Stecher Jr. <kstecher...>
Subject: re: [cobirds] Of sage thrashers, sandhill cranes, strange coincidences, and the inevitable arbitrariness of eBird
I would have thought that Say's phoebe would have come up first.

Karl Stecher
Centennial/Arapahoe




----------------------------------------
From: "Ted Floyd" <tedfloyd57...>
Sent: Saturday, April 01, 2017 6:00 PM
To: "Colorado Birds" <cobirds...>
Subject: [cobirds] Of sage thrashers, sandhill cranes, strange coincidences, and the inevitable arbitrariness of eBird
Okay, that sounds like the beginning of a really lame April Fools joke, but, actually, it's a true story. Here goes...

Yesterday, Friday, March 31, Andrew Floyd and I had an errand to run, and we just happened to be in the vicinity of Prince Lake No. 2, eastern Boulder County, where we saw a drive-by sage thrasher. It was raining, and I was lazy, so we just snapped a few photos from the car. I sort of brought the car to a stop. Then, this Saturday morning, Apr. 1, Hannah Floyd and I had an errand to run in the exact same vicinity of eastern Boulder County, so we stopped by--you guessed it--Prince Lake No. 2, where we saw a drive-by sandhill crane. Same deal as the day before: rainy, lazy, sort of stopped the car, snapped a few photos from the car, and continued on our way.
Now here's where the story gets weird.

When I went to eBird the 3/31 sage thrasher, the smart search ("S"..."A"...) took me to s-a-n-d-h-i-l-l, but not to s-a-g-e, because sage thrasher trips the Boulder County filter in March, but sandhill crane does not. As to the 4/1, sandhill crane, it was déja vu all over again: The eBird smart search ("S"..."A"...) returned s-a-g-e, but not s-a-n-d-h-i-l-l, because sandhill crane trips the Boulder County filter in April, but sage thrasher does not. Is that freaky or what? And it reprises a recent thread at the CFO Facebook site, wherein (certain) folks were grousing about the (allegedly) too-tight filters for Colorado. I, for one, consider the Colorado eBird filters to be set at just the right tension, especially along the well-birded I-25 corridor. And, well, you have to draw boundaries somewhere (3/31 for SAge thrasher, 4/1 for SAndhill crane, etc.), and I coincidentally got burned twice: Same place, same car, same situation, SAme first two letters. Even Bill Kaempfer couldn't have devised such a scheme.

Over at the nearby Greenlee Preserve-Waneka Lake-Thomas Open Space-Hecla Pond ecological complex, eastern Boulder County, things were decently birdy this dreary Saturday morning, Apr. 1: among 40 species, a pair of wood ducks, a drake hooded merganser, molting horned grebes, a hybrid northern flicker, a prairie merlin, American bushtit pairs, a singing Rubicon kinglet, a latish dark-eyed junco, white-crowned sparrows on the move, a spotted towhee that couldn't quite commit to singing a full song, and common grackles out the wazoo. Photos, audio, and eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35609657

Ted Floyd
Lafayette, Boulder County


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