Date   
Re: Learn more about eBird and (we all) win something

Siobhan Ruck
 

I don’t disagree with greater use of eBird - the data it’s gathering is great.  

That said, I hope people continue to use lists like SFBirds for getting the word out about uncommon birds in our area.  Much easier to get word out quickly via the lists.


Siobhan


On Jan 27, 2020, at 5:08 PM, Richard Bradus via Groups.Io <grizzledjay@...> wrote:

Apologies if this is deemed "off-topic" - hopefully it will be of value.

Just wanted to alert all of you - before the month is up - that eBird's challenge of the month is to submit a checklist and then complete their "eBird Essentials" course online, which gives you a chance to win a pair of choice binoculars. See https://ebird.org/news/january-ebirder-of-the-month-challenge-2020

While many of you have been using eBird for some time, there are still some pointers that you may discover (or re-learn) by going through the course (it's pretty quick). And for those of you that are new to eBird or have not yet started it's a great way to jump in. In particular, you will learn some of the better practices for entering your data so that the information you provide will have scientific value - it's not just about the numbers! And, hopefully, we can all learn to use the platform more wisely and reduce unnecessary errors.

In particular, a couple of errors that are seen far too frequently:
1) Overstating the distance traveled. 
For those using the "Traveling" protocol to enter their observations (i.e. just about everyone), please note that the distance to be entered is a one-way distance. While birdwatching it is typical to go out and back on a particular trail or route, or to wander all over, but then the distance recorded (particularly if using the mobile app) will be incorrect, often markedly overstated. Please pay some attention to this, and correct the distance, especially if using the automatic recording feature on the mobile app.

2) Mis-use of the "Incidental" protocol.
Yeah, we know what it sounds like, but "Incidental" is actually a very specific - and the least useful scientifically - of all the data entry protocols. It is to be used only when you are doing something else and see something notable, for example when you are driving to work and you happen to spot a hawk perched at the side of the road. Here is a good example: https://ebird.org/checklist/S63424323 (thanks Dominik!). If are out somewhere, even if you are without binoculars, and you stop to study a bird or note the birds that are around, this is no longer an incidental observation; if you list 7 species, it's not incidental! Please use "Traveling" "Stationary" or other protocol and indicate "incomplete" if you were not keeping track of all the birds you saw or heard.

And, since the Essentials course is just a start, please explore the other features on the eBird data entry portal and elsewhere on their site. One thing you may want to do is to use the "Area" protocol (inexplicably buried under "Other" in the main checklist entry page) - it is the best protocol to use for many of our trips in our local parks, where we are not traveling along a trail or set path but rather observing from throughout the park, such as at Lafayette Park (a frequent hangout of mine) or the Lily Pond, where our observations are in a well-defined area. SF Rec & Park website lists the area of many of the parks under the specific park's description. Plus if one uses the Hotspot map, there is a distance scale at the bottom; not only is this very useful for submitting accurate distances, when using meters it is very easy to calculate areas as well (100 meters square is a hectare). And, really people, it's the 21st century - we should all be using meters and kilometers and hectares!

These are just a few issues and pointers. Please avail yourself of the contest, learn a bit more about eBird, and hopefully take some time to explore the site - especially check out the Explore section, you will be amazed with all the information that one can access. And it's all up to us to share and enter our observations so that all the data can be made available to advance the science and for our education and enjoyment.

And please review your checklists after you are done submitting, and and comments!! 

Many thanks also to Dominik Mosur, our tireless eBird reviewer.

Thank you all!

Richard Bradus
San Francisco

Learn more about eBird and (we all) win something

Richard Bradus
 

Apologies if this is deemed "off-topic" - hopefully it will be of value.

Just wanted to alert all of you - before the month is up - that eBird's challenge of the month is to submit a checklist and then complete their "eBird Essentials" course online, which gives you a chance to win a pair of choice binoculars. See https://ebird.org/news/january-ebirder-of-the-month-challenge-2020

While many of you have been using eBird for some time, there are still some pointers that you may discover (or re-learn) by going through the course (it's pretty quick). And for those of you that are new to eBird or have not yet started it's a great way to jump in. In particular, you will learn some of the better practices for entering your data so that the information you provide will have scientific value - it's not just about the numbers! And, hopefully, we can all learn to use the platform more wisely and reduce unnecessary errors.

In particular, a couple of errors that are seen far too frequently:
1) Overstating the distance traveled. 
For those using the "Traveling" protocol to enter their observations (i.e. just about everyone), please note that the distance to be entered is a one-way distance. While birdwatching it is typical to go out and back on a particular trail or route, or to wander all over, but then the distance recorded (particularly if using the mobile app) will be incorrect, often markedly overstated. Please pay some attention to this, and correct the distance, especially if using the automatic recording feature on the mobile app.

2) Mis-use of the "Incidental" protocol.
Yeah, we know what it sounds like, but "Incidental" is actually a very specific - and the least useful scientifically - of all the data entry protocols. It is to be used only when you are doing something else and see something notable, for example when you are driving to work and you happen to spot a hawk perched at the side of the road. Here is a good example: https://ebird.org/checklist/S63424323 (thanks Dominik!). If are out somewhere, even if you are without binoculars, and you stop to study a bird or note the birds that are around, this is no longer an incidental observation; if you list 7 species, it's not incidental! Please use "Traveling" "Stationary" or other protocol and indicate "incomplete" if you were not keeping track of all the birds you saw or heard.

And, since the Essentials course is just a start, please explore the other features on the eBird data entry portal and elsewhere on their site. One thing you may want to do is to use the "Area" protocol (inexplicably buried under "Other" in the main checklist entry page) - it is the best protocol to use for many of our trips in our local parks, where we are not traveling along a trail or set path but rather observing from throughout the park, such as at Lafayette Park (a frequent hangout of mine) or the Lily Pond, where our observations are in a well-defined area. SF Rec & Park website lists the area of many of the parks under the specific park's description. Plus if one uses the Hotspot map, there is a distance scale at the bottom; not only is this very useful for submitting accurate distances, when using meters it is very easy to calculate areas as well (100 meters square is a hectare). And, really people, it's the 21st century - we should all be using meters and kilometers and hectares!

These are just a few issues and pointers. Please avail yourself of the contest, learn a bit more about eBird, and hopefully take some time to explore the site - especially check out the Explore section, you will be amazed with all the information that one can access. And it's all up to us to share and enter our observations so that all the data can be made available to advance the science and for our education and enjoyment.

And please review your checklists after you are done submitting, and and comments!! 

Many thanks also to Dominik Mosur, our tireless eBird reviewer.

Thank you all!

Richard Bradus
San Francisco

McLaren Park Big Day?

Daniel Scali
 

Howdy friends,

Today I thought I might try to hit as much of the park as possible to get a solo single day species total well above what I've done before (prob low/mid 40s). Doing so would force me to plan my attack and work on my weaknesses in the area of not getting stuck in one spot for hours trying to find ghosts. Spoiler Alert: I still got stuck!

50 species seemed easily doable, 60 seemed like a serious challenge, and 70 was getting every possible bird.

Highlights were: hearing a 7am Great-horned Owl in same spot (J Garcia) as seen on our August GGAS field trip, FOS Allen's Hummingbird, nice views of perched Red Crossbill, about 10 Golden-crowned Kinglets, 5 raptor spp. (both Reds, both Accips, and a resident AmKestrel), all the doves/pigeons, and a completely unexpected Spotted Towhee.

Big misses were: Bushtit, Red-masked Parakeet, Western Meadowlark. Also no Egrets/Herons, DCCorms, Mockingbird, or House Sparrow. And unfortunately, none of the Sapsuckers turned up.

Total score was 59 species if you count Muscovy Duck and allow a "well there are lots of gulls with pale wing tips flying overhead so surely one of them is a Glaucous-winged."

I better take another crack at 70 before all of these irruptive conifer eaters head off for summer vacation.

Stupendous Birding,
Dan Scali



Re: No Summer Tanager for us Saturday

Adam Winer
 

FYI, the Summer Tanager is once again showing well by the beehive in Glen Canyon.


On Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 07:19 rosita94598 via Groups.Io <rosita94598=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Rosita and I were among a number of folks waiting to see the continuing Summer Tanager in Glen Canyon Park yesterday.  Though I heard someone tell us that it was seen earlier in the day, it did not work for any of us in the noon hour.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

Odds & Ends from GGP

Ken Moy
 

Male Purple Finch and singing house wren @ Muir Pond at Children's Garden in BG on Saturday. Same location had a spotted towhee on Thursday.

Continuing Nashville Warbler in bushes beneath the berry tree upslope from the concrete stairs with metal railings coming up from Moon Viewing Terrace, female varied thrush seen nearby on Thursday.

Golden crowned kinglets and red breasted nuthatch in trees at NE corner of MLK & Pelosi drives.

Good birding to all,

Ken Moy

No Summer Tanager for us Saturday

rosita94598
 

Rosita and I were among a number of folks waiting to see the continuing Summer Tanager in Glen Canyon Park yesterday.  Though I heard someone tell us that it was seen earlier in the day, it did not work for any of us in the noon hour.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

Palm Warbler on Russian Hill

David Assmann
 

I just observed a PALM WARBLER in the Bottlebrush trees in front of 2130 Leavenworth (between Filbert and Greenwich) on Russian Hill. It was flicking its tail constantly, and was deep inside the trees. An agitated RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET was next to it.

Re: Common merganser?

Paul Saraceni
 

When I stopped by the Lagoon this morning there were at least 5 Red-breasted Mergansers present, including 1 drake, but no Commons that I noticed.

And 4 of the Black Skimmers were present.

Paul Saraceni
San Francisco



------ Original Message ------

From: Ralph McKinnon via Groups.Io
To: SF Birds
Cc: SFBirds@groups.io
Sent: January 25, 2020 at 12:05 PM
Subject: [SFBirds] Common merganser?

Any confirmation of the eBird report yesterday for this unusual species at Crissy Lagoon?

Thanks

RM





Re: Common merganser?

Dominik Mosur
 

There's red-breasted Merganser there in winter and has been since the Lagoon was made.

If you see an eBird checklist with common and no red-breasted this time of year that's an  indicator to me that it could be  an observer error.




On Jan 25, 2020, at 12:04, Ralph McKinnon via Groups.Io <mckinnon_ralph@...> wrote:

Any confirmation of the eBird report yesterday for this unusual species at Crissy Lagoon?

Thanks

RM



Common merganser?

Ralph McKinnon
 

Any confirmation of the eBird report yesterday for this unusual species at Crissy Lagoon?

Thanks

RM



Barn Swallows

David Assmann
 

Six BARN SWALLOWS flew north along the beach past Fort Funston this morning - undoubtedly part of the early migration that Dominik mentioned earlier.

Woodpecker variety in northeast GGP

Richard Bradus
 

Hi all

Spent a bit of the noon hour along the Phil Arnold Oak Woodland Trail in GGP (north of McLaren Lodge and around the Horseshoe Courts). While I did not see the Red-naped Sapsucker that Brian T. reported on the 10th, there were five species of woodpecker and a couple of different subspecies, most of which spent some time in a couple of adjoining eucalyptus trees (but frustratingly high up - I have the resulting stiff neck!). 

The expected contingent included Red-shafted Flicker, Nuttal's, Downy and Hairy plus a typical Red-breasted Sapsucker (presumably daggetti). Providing some interesting contrast (as reported on eBird yesterday by Peter and Rudy et. al.) was a darker red-headed and breasted (ruber) Sapsucker showing a yellowish upper belly. And there was an intergrade Flicker with a red nape crescent and partly black, partly red whisker stripe that, interestingly, showed what looked to me like mostly reddish wing linings. And, befitting the mostly sunny and warm mid-day, there was some early breeding activity with a few songs or fragments from some of the small birds, plus a mating pair of Red-tails. 

Worth skipping lunch for! Though, if you decide to check out the area, I would advise going either in the morning or mid-afternoon, as the sun (and bright sky) was a major hindrance to fully visualizing these birds up high.

Richard Bradus
San Francisco


Black Skimmer preening (video)

Mila Zinkova
 

Probable 6th Black Skimmer

Rachel Lawrence
 

One in Crissy wildlife protection area east of pier seen from viewing platform around 2pm and  the 5 were still on the mudflat in the lagoon a few minutes later

5 Black Skimmers Crissy Lagoon

Rachel Lawrence
 

Currently 5 at Crissy

Black (Skimmer) Power at Crissy

Richard Bradus
 

On this M.L. King, Jr. Day there was a treat - the Black Skimmers put on quite a show late this afternoon at Crissy Field and beach. As David Assmann already reported, there were three resting on the exposed mudflats at low tide around 4pm on the lagoon. As the tide started rising and the evening approached they took flight, variously skimming individually or as a group, first along the bay shoreline and lagoon, later all along the shoreline from further east than we could see all the way out to Fort Point and maybe beyond. I had the fortune to meet up with Felix Rigau (as well as Rachel Lawrence and others) to share the spectacle. Some photos can be seen on our eBird checklists: https://ebird.org/checklist/S63617552 and https://ebird.org/checklist/S63617558

Richard Bradus
San Francisco

Black Skimmers and other local interest

David Assmann
 

There were 3 BLACK SKIMMERS in Crissy Lagoon this afternoon (first spotted yesterday) so we currently have Skimmers at two locations in San Francisco. Yesterday at the GGAS walk at Fort Mason, participants had good looks at the continuing adult male ORCHARD ORIOLE and the YELLOW-SHAFTED NORTHERN FLICKER. A BONAPARTE’S GULL was in Aquatic Park early yesterday morning and a NASHVILLE WARBLER continues in the Community Garden. On Saturday I had my FOS ALLEN’S HUMMINGBIRD at Fort Mason. Also on Saturday a RED-NECKED GREBE was in the water north of the Wave Organ.

continuing Rock Sandpiper

rosita94598
 

Rosita and I drove to Heron's Head this afternoon, walked out to the end and fairly easily found the Rock Sandpiper.  She tried to photograph the bird with her phone and spotting scope, but the bird kept going behind the large pieces of concrete rip-rap.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

Merlin at Lafayette Park

Allan Ridley
 

A Merlin was hunting from the TV antenna on the apartment building on the NW corner of Sacramento and Octavia Sts. (1:00pm) The bird made a couple of high speed passes before coming up with a sparrow size meal, eaten back on the aerial. Carried prey away after a RTHA showed up.

Zonotrichia Hybrid Fort Scott 1/17

Logan Kahle
 

Hi All,

Bounced around a couple spots in the Presidio on Friday morning. The highlight was a hybrid Zonotrichia at Fort Scott at the north end of the Ball Fields opposite the Log Cabin. It was foraging on and around Storey ave, working from the north side of the road to the Ball Fields.

One of the parents is clearly a Golden-crowned Sparrow, but I'm still not sure if the other one is a White-throated or a White-crowned. I'm leaning towards the former, but could well be wrong. Any insights (especially for people with field experience with these hybrids) would be greatly appreciated.

In size and structure, the bird appeared like a typical Golden-crowned. The malar markings seemed stronger than Golden-crowned, the body was grayer overall. The bird's crown was gold in front with bright white towards the rear, and with distinctly yellow lores. The supercillium was quite broad. The bill was dark.

A few marginal doc shots are here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S63485450
A few better shots by Jonah from later in the day are here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S63496528

Good birding,

Logan