Date: 9/3/17 7:45 am
From: Tim Lewis (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: Confusion about Hooper Lane shorebirds, and worrisome eBird filter
For anyone unfamiliar with the Hooper Lane area in Henderson Co. here is a Google Maps satellite view< >. It is Mills River that floods the "former" wetlands area, now plowed fields and sod farms with drainage ditches.

Hooper Lane is a gravel (and mud) road.

Tim Lewis
Jackson County, NC
< >

From: <carolinabirds-request...> <carolinabirds-request...> on behalf of Wayne Forsythe <wforsythe...>
Sent: Saturday, September 2, 2017 11:10 PM
To: Dwayne Martin
Cc: Simon Thompson; Harry LeGrand; carolinabirds listserve
Subject: Re: Confusion about Hooper Lane shorebirds, and worrisome eBird filter

I have been birding Hooper Ln. for over 30 years. No one has spent more time in that area then I have. Buffies have been seen annually in the fall, with a high count as I recall of about 30 birds. Semi-P Plovers have been seen in the 20+ numbers, American Golden Plovers in double digits, less common, Black-bellied Plovers in double digits! I have found and photographed 2 Piping Plovers as well. Simon's count of Baird's S/P is probably the highest count for that species! However, all of these species are usually seen annually on Hooper Lane and the Mills River area. I have seen all of these species out there and most are documented with photos over the years.
I report to the Chat as well as N/A Birds but do not report to e-bird, which may shed so me light on some of the filter issues with e-bird. If one was to check back in the past records reported to the Chat and N/A Birds you will find these reports are not unusual for that area! Yes, some of the count numbers may be different, but the species being reported other then the Piping Plover, and the Sanderling are not rare for that area.
Over the past several days, I too saw 4 Am. Golden Plovers, 9 Black-bellied Plovers, 2 Baird's S/P, 2 Sanderling, 1 Piping Plover, many Pectorals, but peep numbers were low.
As Simon reported, it is a large area, with some restricted access, but in many cases, the birds are usually found in concentrated areas, containing large groups of many species!
Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 2, 2017, at 9:33 PM, Dwayne Martin (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...><mailto:<carolinabirds...>> wrote :

The filters for many species were set many years ago, even before I took over as reviewer for the mountains. Some numbers can slip through the cracks. Ebird filtering is a continuing process. If anyone runs across something that doesn't seem right, please feel free to shot me an email and I will certainly look into it. Hopefully, I have straightened out some of the shorebird issues raised today.

J. Dwayne Martin
Hickory, NC

Catawba County Park Ranger
Riverbend Park - Conover, NC
<jdmartin...><mailto:<jdmartin...> < > <>

On Sat, Sep 2, 2017 at 9:23 PM, Simon Thompson <carolinabirds...><mailto:<carolinabirds...>> wrote:
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 d uring 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 de pending 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 concl ude, 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<tel:(828)%20253-4247>
Email: <Venturesbirding...><mailto:<Venturesbirding...>

Check out our 2017-18 Birding & Nature Tours - International<>, USA & Canada<>, and WNC day trips<>

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On Sat, Sep 2, 2017 at 8:11 PM, Harry LeGrand <carolinabirds...><mailto:<carolinabirds...>> wrote:
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 be en 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 s ome 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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