Date: 12/25/18 8:08 am From: Anthony Hewetson <fattonybirds...> Subject: [texbirds] The 2018 Tri-County Competition - An eBird Perspective
With the competition completed and speaking strictly for myself I would like to mention the value of our efforts in terms of eBird data collection ... by highlighting the additions we made during our oft-strenuous efforts.
Though we picked moderately well-birded counties our data, once entered into eBird, filled in a surprising number of (often surprising) holes in the data set.
Anthony Hewetson's efforts in Floyd County added (assuming all are accepted by eBird) twenty-six species to the cumulative eBird list for the county (Common Goldeneye, American Bittern, Osprey, Broad-winged Hawk, Long-billed Curlew, Chuck-will's-widow, Rufous Hummingbird, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-naped Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Least Flycatcher, Vermilion Flycatcher, Cassin's Kingbird, Winter Wren, Marsh Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Townsend's Solitaire, Swainson's Thrush, Gray Catbird, Green-tailed Towhee, Harris's Sparrow, Yellow-breasted Chat, Northern Waterthrush, Nashville Warbler, American Redstart, and Summer Tanager).
Interestingly enough, based on historical data and some ongoing shifts in distribution) not one of these additions is truly noteworthy: the only one that surprised me at all was the Vermilion Flycatcher ... and it, based on the steady increase of records in the region over the last decade, shouldn't have.
Brandon Best's efforts in Hill County added (assuming all are accepted by eBird) twenty-six species to the cumulative eBird list for the county (Common Ground Dove, Snowy Plover, Marbled Godwit, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Laughing Gull, Brown Pelican, Short-eared Owl, Peregrine Falcon, Pileated Woodpecker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Say's Phoebe, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Black-capped Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Swainson's Thrush, Gray Catbird, Grasshopper Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Worm-eating Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, and Lazuli Bunting).
Some of these sightings seem very tasty to me but, after a hasty review of the recent TOS handbook, only the Say's Phoebe and Lazuli Bunting seem truly startling!
Rich Kostecke's effeorts in Lee County added (assuming all are accepted by eBird) add ten species to the cumulative eBird list for the county (American Golden Plover, Marbled Godwit, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Bonaparte's Gull, Laughing Gull, White-tailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Willow Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, and Bobolink).
Though I would love to get most of these birds in my region the only one that seems startling, to me, is the one I am most likely to encounter in my area - the Ferruginous Hawk!
I have no idea what the others felt was there most obvious miss but for me, based on previous eBird data, I can't believe I missed Semipalamated Sandpiper in Floyd County during 2018 - even in drought conditions this is usually an easily encountered bird.
Great finds, stunning misses, thorough coverage of a given area over the course of an entire year - what more could a data set ask for?