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 there.
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.