Date: 2/13/20 6:57 pm
From: Matt Cahill <matt.c.cahill...>
Subject: [obol] More on Rare and Unreported Comments
Fair warning - eBird related...

Jeff is spot on, at least as far as I use the “Rare” and “Unreported”
language on my eBird checklists comments. And since I’m one of the few
people using this convention right now, it may well have been one of my
checklists that caught Bob’s attention (and confusion).

I think these are helpful notes to leave on checklists as after a user
submits, there is no way to know if they hit a filter (rarities or high
counts) except by inference since everyone is required then to leave some
kind of a comment. Especially when exploring new areas, these notes on
others’ checklists would be really interesting and helpful, plus I find it
encourages me to leave better identification notes, even of birds where we
collectively tend to get a bit lazy (continuing birds, ‘obvious’ birds). I
find I learn quite a bit when I encounter someone else’s detailed
description on a checklist.

The “unreported” red dots on mobile eBird submissions are even more
interesting, I think, as they don’t require any additional comment making
them basically invisible once submitted. If birders flagged these on their
checklists, there’d be even more for others to glean of what is typically
seen. Since a lot of our longitudinally-ambitious counties spans some
impressive diversity (Lane, Douglas, Deschutes to name a few) spending some
time detailing a red dot is especially helpful. I wouldn’t hit a filter,
but I would score a red dot, if I reported a sage-grouse from the summit of
South Sister. Though Tom would be on me within the week I suspect.

So where a very localized rarity comes up as signified by the red dot there
is a lot to learn from some comments. Same is true where there are few
checklists to draw from and hence lots of red dots, so the knowledge builds
by leaps with each checklist.

It’d be my minor soapbox to encourage all eBirders to note their rarity and
high-count filters, bonus points to red-dotters (yellow dotters are just
nuts though IMHO).

As a last side note, I noticed when I was down in San Diego this winter
that county seems to have solved the excessive diversity problem - filters
changed depending on where I was in the county. I couldn’t report a desert
surf scoter and get away with it. I wonder what they’ve got going on?

Matt Cahill

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