Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Online resources that I have used regularly in 2008

2008 is not my first attempt at keeping a bird list.

In fact I have made several attempts in the course of my life to record what birds I have seen, when I have seen them, and where they were at when I did. I enjoy it. I like to look at a regional list a cross off with confidence those species that I have seen.
When heading out in a new area I like to know what I may see, and what new critters I should keep an eye out for.

Unfortunately the failures of my past have been more a problem of organisation than any lack of interest. I would make a checklist, cross off a few seen species, and then promptly lose it before I next though about bringing it with me on a hike or trip.

All that changed in 2008. The quest to identify the mystery bird in the post below exposed me to the wonderful merger of technology and birding that has been going on around me.

As I searched for an ID on my mystery species I found three resources that not only sparked my interest and got me birding, they also made it possible for me to sustain my enthusiasm and manage my efforts without being overwhelmed.

The first, and shortly thereafter second resources I found were the Colorado Field Ornithologists website and the cobirders list service. At the website I discovered, and soon printed a portion of , the county by county list of birding hotspots in the state of Colorado. These are a goldmine of bits of local knowledge that turn aimless wandering into targeted trips. The email updates on cobirds have given me a connection to the Colorado birding community. By watching the emails that are sent to the group I have become aware of the events that are available to me a fairly novice birder. The rare bird alerts help me anticipate unusual species that I may see if I venture to a given location.

The third online resource has been the best that I could have hoped for, my discovery of eBird. This is the best thing, aside from the development of DSLR photography, that has happened to birding for me personally. Not only do I have all of my birding lists kept for me in a location where they are always waiting for me, I have a checklist that is customised to the location where I went birding. It immediately tells me if what I thought I had seen was in fact likely to be at the location I was at, or if it was a rare sighting for the area.
As my lists grow I begin to see the possibilities for county by county birding, and easily maintaining state lists without additional effort on my part.

No comments:

Post a Comment