Date: 3/13/18 2:53 pm From: Floyd, Chris <chrisf...> Subject: RE: [MASSBIRD] Please be location-specific
Massbirders and eBirders,
I thoroughly agree with Soheil, and I add to his request a plea for more effort by eBird reporters in particular to put some access directions into the comment fields of their reports - very few go to the trouble.
I arrived in the vicinity of the Tundra Swan reports yesterday with the impression from the eBird reports I'd examined that the target bird might be seen from somewhere along Meadow Street. If it hadn't been for Erik Nielsen still being there and giving me the needed directions (thanks, Erik!), I never would have found the bird, nor would about six others who were also confused who came after me.
I try to make it a practice to do what I suggest. Here is what I put into my eBird report top-level comments for my Atwood Reservoir checklist: "Access to full view of reservoir via foot path at speed limit sign just west of 60 Meadow Street, on south side of road (parking nearby on both sides). Walk generally SE past several cranberry bog pump houses and view of reservoir will open up on right." I must say that it took some effort paying attention at the site and staring at Google Maps this morning to come up with those directions. I don't always have time to do that and realize that other reporters may not have the time either. (Too bad the directions are pretty useless today, perhaps tomorrow, too, assuming the swan is still there.)
Another thing eBirders can do - any many do - is post to Massbird a link to their checklist for a rarity. That should satisfy most Massbirder needs for definitive location for a name like "Atwood Reservoir," as long they can click a link and do the most basic navigation of Google Maps. I usually try to scan Massbird to see if there's been an eBird checklist link posted and then post one myself if I find none. Since I failed to do that today, here it is as an example: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S43614685
While I'm at this, I also plea for some bare access and itinerary information in eBird reports for pelagic boat trips, which I seldom see: e.g., "whale watch aboard <name of fleet or vessel> out of Gloucester."
Thanks to Soheil for renewing consciousness on this subject!