Date: 1/3/19 8:58 am
From: Paul Sullivan <paultsullivan...>
Subject: [obol] timely notification: OBOL vs eBird
On a Wednesday last September a White-rumped Sandpiper was reported at the
north end of Necanicum estuary, at a place called Little Beach near
Gearhart. I went there on Thursday and got to see the bird, along with
several other birders. There were photos in OBOL and eBird reports.

On Friday someone hopeful for a weekend chase asked on OBOL if the bird was
still being seen. There were no OBOL reports on Friday.

Thinking there might be people who posted to eBird and not OBOL on Friday,
and wanting to be helpful, I went to eBird to look for reports of the bird.
I went to Explore Data and tried 4 avenues:

1. Species: I searched on White-rumped Sandpiper and got a map of the WORLD
with every White-rumped Sandpiper ever reported. Zooming in on NW Oregon I
found a pin drop out on the beach from last year.

2. Location; I searched on Clatsop county Oregon. That led me to the same
pin drop from last year.

3. Hot spot: I searched on hot spots and found that Little Beach in Gearhart
is not even listed as a hotspot. Why? A lot of good birds have been found

4. Recent checklists: Finally I went to recent checklists in Clatsop
county. I found a pile of checklists reporting Yellow-rumped warblers from
Saddle Mt. etc, etc.

Finally down in the pile I found a couple checklist from people who had seen
the White-rumped Sandpiper and even got good photos, but who hadn't reported
to OBOL. Just what I was looking for. However, the reports were from late
Thursday. At that point I gave up the eChase. No new information.

I presume that my first three approaches didn't find the sandpiper was
because the eBird reviewer hadn't vetted the Wed - Thur reports. That's
just the structure of eBird.

So eBird has the latest rare bird sightings, but they are buried in a
blizzard of checklists of ordinary birds. It's not simple to search.

If I were subscribed to eBird alerts for White-rumped Sandpiper or for
Clatsop county, I might have got the information more quickly, but I don't
choose to be signed up for reports from a wealth of places or about a wealth
of species.

OBOL seems quicker and simpler to me.

Paul Sullivan

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