BUBO Listing News
There's little doubt that most birders leave their Christmas presents buying to the last minute. Well, never fear, BUBO Listing in association with Amazon can help with lots of ideas of gifts for birders and non-birders alike!
(Prices are the same as you would get shopping on Amazon directly, but buying via BUBO Listing gives us a small commission which helps as a little incentive for us to keep enhancing this site!)
Browse the Amazon website, or let us give you a few ideas...
How about a digital photo frame? It's the ideal way to get those digital pics off your PC and instead gracing your living room.
I'm sure we'd all be happy to get a new pair of bins or a scope but maybe budgets can't stretch to Swarovski, Zeiss or Leica. What about a cheap second pair of bins to keep in the car or at the office? You never know when you might need them!
Maybe an upgrade to your camera is in order to a nice new digital SLR, or why not buy your nearest and dearest an excellent digital compact camera that you can also sneak into your pocket for a bit of digiscoping the next time you're out birding?
Nowadays a GPS is becoming a commonly seen piece of birding equipment, especially for any foreign trips. Another aid to getting fast to your next twitch is a satellite navigation system. See Amazon's choice of GPSs and satnav systems. And if you have to spend many hours in a car load of birders, why not just put on your headphones and listen to your own music on your MP3 player, which doubles as a handy bird call player and recorder?
Of course the easiest present to buy for any birder is a book, and the latest birding tomes are always welcome. See some of our recommendations in the BUBO Store.
If you happen to be in the unfortunate position of needing to buy a present for someone who is not interested in birds, and you don't think Bill Oddie's Introduction to Birdwatching or How to Watch Wildlife book (or DVD boxed set), or Simon Barnes's How to Be Wild (following on from his Bad Birdwatcher books which were much appreciated by my Mum last Christmas!) will get them hooked, then you actually have the whole Amazon store to chose from. So check out their selection of music, DVDs, other books, toys and games or just browse from the Amazon homepage.
Have a great Christmas. Personally I'm looking forward to my first trip to the UK in over a year and hence my BUBO year list will increase beyond its current zero. What I'm really wishing for is that Santa will bring me a Sussex Ross's Gull...
In the definitive British work on birders and birding, Bill Oddie's Little Black Bird Book, Bill tells us that "there is one final list no birder can push too far into the back of his mind, and it is the list that keeps you at it - 'Birds I haven't seen yet'." And it's true, all listers know perfectly well which species they haven't yet seen. Moreover, we tend to have a good idea which are our easiest remaining targets, those that we feel we really should have seen by now, and are just waiting to be added soon...
Well, now BUBO Listing can help. We have come up with a brand new feature that can be used to find the top targets for any list, whether your own or that of another lister. At the top of any given list (e.g. viewed through View All Lists, or View/Edit My Lists) you will now see a target icon to indicate that you should click this to see the top targets for the list. (Select the tick icon to return to viewing the actual species list.)
The list of targets returns all species available for that authority that are not already on the list in question. For more interest, however, it also ranks these in order of 'easiness', with the most expected next addition listed at the top. But how is this worked out?
For any list, we look at all other lists currently entered on BUBO Listing with the same combination of region, period, authority and all birds/self-found. For every species missing from the list you have selected, we see how many of these other equivalent lists each species is currently recorded on. It is this number that enables us to tell you which are your top targets for any given list.
This approach can produce some interesting results. For example, examination of one BUBO lister's BOU British Life List gave the top five targets (with % of equivalent lists recording the species) as:
- Great Reed Warbler (53%)
- Ortolan Bunting (49%)
- European Bee-eater (48%)
- Radde's Warbler (48%)
- White-billed Diver (48%)
For a list of just over 400 species, this is a fairly expected list of reasonably 'gettable' species that have just passed the lister by, and that he can expect to pick up some time fairly soon. However, looking further down the list of targets, it initially appears surprising to see Green Heron (11th target), Pacific Diver (15th target) and Black Lark (17th target) appearing above such relatively regular birds as Black-winged Pratincole (18th), Black-headed Bunting (20th) and Greater Yellowlegs (41st). This is because, the way the ranking is calculated, recent well-twitched megas like Pacific Diver have been recorded by more listers than some other species which are numerically more regular, but can be tricky to get to grips with. Additionally, birders are likely to travel further for megas than for those moderately rare species which they feel they will get back at some stage.
We hope BUBO Listers will appreciate this new feature. Don't forget, once you've found your list of top targets, just click on one of those species names to see who else has recorded it, and where and when.
And of course, if you have a friend using BUBO Listing, you can check to see what their top target currently is...!
During our regular updating of BUBO Listing we have made two changes that will be noticed by birders wanting to create or update their lists.
Firstly, we are now insisting that all records of 'rare' species must be accompanied by a date and location. Whilst we realise this may slow down the initial entry of a list somewhat, the extra information should make the list more interesting for everyone. Whilst we are not inclined to assess the individual records on every list, having date and location information set against records of rare species is clearly of interest to many people (for example, when accessing all lists containing a given species using our 'blockers' facility). Moreover, it also helps in reducing the inevitable occasional inputting error. Obviously, this will not affect any records of rare species entered before this time, and we would encourage all BUBO Listers to go back to their lists and fill in the dates and locations of as many species as possible, especially the rarer ones.
Secondly, the main list entry page (i.e. with the entire checklist visible at once) has now been split into multiple pages. This is to improve the speed of the list entry and is also in preparation for larger base-lists for the Western Palearctic and other large regions, including the World. At the bottom of each page within the 'create new list' facility, you simply need to click on 'Save Records'; this will save the records from that page and then automatically take you to the next page.
These changes have been made to try to improve the service we offer to BUBO Listers, both now and for our future plans. We are always keen to hear of any suggestions for further improvements. Additionally, if you spot any apparent errors then please contact us immediately, via the 'Contact Us' menu item at the top of the page.
Ever seen a Pied Kingfisher? How about Semi-collared Flycatcher? Or perhaps Dark Chanting Goshawk? After the success of BUBO Listing for British and Irish listing, BUBO has set its sights wider. It is now possible to enter your Western Palearctic (WP) lists on BUBO Listing and, as with other lists, to compare them with those of other listers. To enter your WP List simply log in to BUBO Listing, select 'Create New List', choose the region 'Western Palearctic' and away you go. For ease of use, if you already have a British list entered onto BUBO Listing, you can use this as a base for your WP List, saving a large proportion of the record entry.
As with listing in Britain and Ireland, the question of which species are countable is not clear-cut. The approach of BUBO Listing is to allow lists based on published 'authorities', rather than determining our own base-lists. For the WP region, we have initially allowed two different base-lists, one more conservative and one more progressive. The AERC (Association of European Rarities Committees) list is more 'official', although it has not been updated for several years. (BUBO Listing has added several 'provisional' species as a result, in the expectation that the AERC list will be updated in due course.) The UK400 Club's Western Palearctic list is more up-to-date. It takes a more progressive view on splitting and is more open-minded on the subject of potential escapes, although the rationale behind the inclusion of individual species is not published.
These two authorities were chosen partly because they represent two extremes, and partly because they were readily available. It is likely that further WP authorities may be introduced in due course. Both lists can be used via the 'Create New List' facility, and the base-lists for AERC and UK400 Club, plus background information about these lists and authorities, can be viewed via the Checklists menu item at the top of each page.
One feature of BUBO Listing is that details of 'sensitive records' (especially locations of rare breeding species) can readily be hidden from general view. British records are regularly reviewed to check that such information is not appearing in the public domain. Clearly, given the greater size of the WP, it will be more difficult for assessment of which details should or should not be kept hidden. It is important, therefore, that listers use great discretion and do not reveal detailed locations of nesting sites for rare breeders. Moreover, if other listers notice information on the site that they feel should not be made public, they should contact us immediately.
Up to now, BUBO Listing has concentrated on UK lists (or countries/counties within UK). We have allowed listers to enter lists based on a small number of "authorities", i.e. British Ornithologists Union, UK400 club and the Birdwatch Magazine (2006) list. However, following many requests to do so, we are now working towards allowing listing for larger regions, such as the Western Palearctic (plus the world, and other regions). For this purpose, we'd like to establish which "authorities" most people tend to follow for their Western Palearctic lists.
From what we can ascertain, the current options seem to be as follows:
a) To use a world list as the base authority for West Pal listing, main options being Clements 6th edition or Howard & Moore 3rd edition.
b) British Birds have a WP list on their website. This is copyrighted 2000 and has presumably not been updated since?
c) Birdwatch magazine published a list of WP birds in 2000 - has not been updated since?
d) the UK400 club has a WP list - presumably kept fairly up to date?
e) the website www.wpbirds.com looks excellent, but appears not to have been updated since 2005 - has this project stalled or moved elsewhere?
f) the website www.netfugl.dk has an authoritative looking list. Again, its is unclear how often this is updated? Who decides on which species get on?
g) the AERC www.aerc.eu would be suitably authoritative. But how up to date is it? On their website there is a "Bird taxa of the WP" that is undated, although the webpage has not been updated since 2005.
We're quite prepared to set BUBO Listing up for multiple authorities for WP listing, as for the UK, but obviously it would be best for us to concentrate on the most widely used ones.
We'd be very grateful to receive any opinions on this subject.
Andy Musgrove & Mike Prince