Date: 11/1/18 8:28 am
From: Chris Elphick via CTBirds <ctbirds...>
Subject: [CT Birds] Winter atlas begins today
Hi everyone,

As many of you will know, field work for the winter atlas starts today and runs until the end of February.  For the winter atlas we are trying to get a complete list of birds that occur in each atlas block in both early (Nov-Dec) and late (Jan-Feb) winter. A secondary goal is to map the relative abundance of each species across the state. All of the field protocols and data sheets are on the atlas web site, where there are several new pages of information.  For one stop shopping, go to the Data Forms page, where there are links to all data forms and associated field protocols:

Because most people are familiar with the basic atlas block structure and data entry methods after the breeding season, and because we do not have any equivalent of breeding codes, we have not planned formal training sessions.  We are, however, working on an FAQ page for the web site and I will have several blog posts to further explain things over the next week or two. If you have questions, please let us know.

One difference from the breeding atlas is that the winter atlas includes several different types of survey. The most important are timed one-hour surveys, which will form our core data set.  If you do nothing else, we hope you will focus your birding effort on these.

For those able to commit more time to the project we have devised three specialized surveys designed to provide better information about the numbers of birds that use inland waterbodies, shorelines (Long Island Sound, plus major rivers and lakes), and roost sites. 

And, as with the breeding atlas, incidental observations from anywhere in the state are also valuable. At this stage there is no need to submit every observation of common species from well-birded areas. But if you see something unusual, or are birding in an area where few birders go (especially New London county where many blocks went unsurveyed during the summer), then we would value your records.

As was true for the summer survey, data can be submitted via the forms at the link above, or via eBird. If you are using eBird, then PLEASE identify the type of survey you did in the checklist’s comments box. This information will be essential for us to separate the different types of data when we do the analysis. Exactly how you should reference the survey type is detailed in the protocols. 

Also, if you use eBird, you may be as excited as I was (I live a quiet life!) to learn that among the latest upgrades is the ability to directly share checklists from the phone app.  Instructions on how to do this are included on the atlas web site, here:
Finally, although data analysis for the summer has been delayed while we get the winter season up and running, we have almost finished all of the data entry and have begun quality control checks. The interactive map also now includes information on the time spent surveying each block this summer, and the web site will have additional upgrades soon.

Thank you all for your support of the project. It’s a big undertaking and is only possible because so many people have been willing to volunteer their time.

(on behalf of the atlas team)

 Chris Elphick @ssts
Storrs, CT
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