Date: 11/9/17 6:37 am From: William Rowe <rowemb45...> Subject: Re: eBird question
The eBird situation at Riverlands is a bit vexing, since the area straddles two states, and eBird (naturally) prefers that you enter lists from one state at a time. Here is the approach that the local eBird team has evolved, along with many of us other observers:
1) The major hotspot is "Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary" in St. Charles Co., Missouri. It covers everything within the boundaries of Riverlands IN MISSOURI as a Corps of Engineers-managed area. In theory, at least, it does not cover adjacent non-Corps areas, some of which have their own hotspots. It also does not cover Illinois.
2) The primary hotspot FOR ILLINOIS is "Melvin Price Lock and Dam 26, Alton" in Madison Co., Illinois. This covers the dam itself, the spillway and the river just below it, the Great Rivers Museum area on the other side of the river, and (importantly) *everything on the "Missouri" side that is actually in Illinois*. This includes all the woods, brush, and marsh between the yellow state-line sign and the dam parking lot, as you describe. Thus this hotspot is where you saw the Blackpoll, and you can create a list for yourself there. Like any public hotspot, it will show up on the map when you "Explore Hotspots" under the "Explore Data" tab in eBird. You don't need to create a personal location for this sighting.
3) The trickiest part of using this hotspot division, which doesn't affect your Blackpoll, is where the state line falls between that yellow sign and the Alton bridge. As a rough guide, I think most of us just make our best guess by sighting from one spot to the other, but two things are clear: all of Ellis Island is in Missouri (according to the Corps personnel I've spoken to), and the portion of the actual river channel just above the dam and along the lock wall is in Illinois. This can leave it UNclear which state a given duck or grebe or loon may be in, especially when viewed from Riverlands Way, but I think most of us just count them for Missouri unless they are so far out in the bay as to be basically in the river channel.
I know, too much information, but that's not all. I will leave you on your own to check out these additional hotspots: "Red School Rd./Cora Island Rd.", "Confluence Rd.", and "Big Muddy NFWR--Cora Island Unit." None of these should be confused with Riverlands.
Hope this helps,
Bill Rowe St. Louis <rowemb45...>
P.S. to the eBird team: I sure hope I didn't get anything wrong!