Date: 9/2/17 6:24 pm
From: Simon Thompson (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: Confusion about Hooper Lane shorebirds, and worrisome eBird filter
Hi Harry et al

Thanks for your email re. shorebirds in the mountains. Yes, I agree that
the e-bird filters are somewhat baffling. We even tested the filter by
putting in over 20 Buff-breasts - again, no rarity box popped up! As for
details entered. Never easy to do when you are entering data using the cell
phone app - all done now!!

Anyway, filters aside - that is for the e-bird regional editors to monitor
and adjust.

Hooper Lane is without a doubt the finest shorebird habitat in Henderson
County and this area of the NC Mountains. The flooded fields over the years
have produced some incredible birds and during bad weather, large numbers
of shorebirds do drop in to feed and rest. This past spring we had dozens
of White-rumped Sandpipers in the flooded fields ( ) plus over 50 Semipalmated
Sandpipers the same day.

As for large plovers, both species have been present this past week. I have
personally seen the Black-bellied Plovers, but the Am Goldens have eluded
me on 2 visits. Multiple observers have seen the Goldens, so they are
certainly around. There are photos on e-bird proving these sightings. Both
species are regularly seen during spring and fall migration - weather
depending of course.

There are many tracks to explore and it could take you all day to walk the
road beds to find any of the flooded areas. These usually occur where the
sod has been harvested, but due to work gong on most days, the birds
constantly move from field to field. In other words, there are lots of
places where birds can be, and consequently, lots of birds. Plus a lot of
the area is private property- hence, no access.

As for my reports today, I stood in 1 spot on Jeffress Road and never
walked into any of the fields. The Black-bellied Plovers were at least 1.5
miles away from my position the previous day, so I never bothered to go
that far. All of the shorebirds I reported today were from this one
location! And yes, there were NO peeps present except the Baird's......the
previous visit we had 1 Least......that's all!. As for Buff-breasted
Sandpipers, yes, we had 7 today and 9 yesterday.

To conclude, yes e-bird filters are a little odd for shorebirds in the
mountains. The other day we had over 100 Killdeer (e-bird flagged!) and
over 80 Eastern Kingbird migrating over (e-bird not flagged!) How often do
we see 80 Kingbirds in one day? Never!

Anyway, we do need to add as much data as we can with shorebirds in the
mountains. Photos are useful, but plumage descriptions are also important.
E-bird is not perfect, but it's an awesome tool that can add so much to our
knowledge of birds here in the mountains and throughout North Carolina.

Fun Birding

Simon Thompson
Ventures Birding Tours
Asheville, NC

Simon RB Thompson

Ventures Birding Tours < >

Phone: 828.253.4247
Email: <Venturesbirding...>

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On Sat, Sep 2, 2017 at 8:11 PM, Harry LeGrand <carolinabirds...>

> The eBird filter for both Baird's Sandpiper and Buff-breasted Sandpiper
> inland baffles me! It has Baird's as rare in the Piedmont, and maybe
> inland Coastal Plain, but NOT in the mountains? Simon Thompson just
> reported a whopping *NINE *Baird's Sandpiper (no details required, nor
> any given); this a record inland count in NC, by far! He also reported
> SEVEN Buff-breasted Sandpipers, again with no details required or given.
> Buff-breasted obviously is not filtered as rare in the mountains and maybe
> other inland sites. Yes, Simon is an excellent observer, and Baird's (one
> only) has been photographed there in the past few days; it's the eBird
> filtering that is the concern with me.
> Both of these species inland ought to be listed as rare (i.e., as
> write-ins), and details should be provided on eBird, especially with the
> filter not catching 9 Baird's Sandpipers.
> Also, the large plover ratios there in the past two days have been
> interesting. Only one person has reported BOTH Black-bellieds and Am.
> Goldens on the same day/trip. Interestingly, James Poling provided
> excellent photos yesterday of some of the 5 Black-bellieds there, but he
> nor others had Am. Goldens yesterday. Today, some folks are reporting
> Black-bellieds, and I see that only Michael Robertson has reported Am.
> Goldens -- 4 of them!. I had assumed that was an ID error, but his photos
> on eBird clearly show about four Am. Goldens, in at least partial breeding
> plumage!! Apparently, the shorebird area out there in the Hooper Road area
> is extensive enough that some observers are missing some of these things.
> Harry LeGrand
> author/editor, Birds of North Carolina website.
> P.S. It is disturbing to me that of the shorebirds that Simon reported
> today:
> 7 Semipalmated Plover
> 15 Killdeer
> 1 Sanderling
> 9 Baird's Sandpiper
> 7 Buff-breasted Sandpiper
> that: 1) he saw no large plovers, 2) the only peep species reported was
> Baird's, and 3) only Sanderling was filtered by eBird as rare! I think
> some details on 9 Baird's Sandpipers, and no other peeps reported, should
> be given either on eBird or carolinabirds.

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