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eBird submission suggestions

eBird submission suggestions
By – 5:46 am
As one of the members of the eBird review team in San Diego County, I’d like to make a couple suggestions for helping the review process.1. Please always include mention that the bird is a continuing stakeout, if that’s the case. Somewhere in your written details simply state something like “Continuing” or “Stakeout” or “First found by XXX on XXX.” This helps reviewers and those keeping track of county data know that it is not possibly a new bird, which otherwise might require additional scrutiny. This is not to say that some sort of documentation isn’t needed in any case, especially for more difficult ID’s or if there has been a substantial gap in time since the previous sightings.2. Please, please, please stop writing that “photos taken” or “photos available” and then fail to attach any photos. Certainly a delay is often warranted, especially if the birder is on the road, but typically by the end of that same day photo(s) can be added. Or if a further delay is needed, please state so. By stating that photos exist but not including any of them often requires the reviewer to take extra time to request such.In addition, some species are especially problematic, so please be extra diligent in providing adequate documentation. A perennial favorite is the Sagebrush/Bell’s Sparrow issue in the Borrego Springs area, where too many birders appear to too easily separate these two taxa based on limited views and misdiagnosed features of actual malar boldness/completeness and amount of streaking on the CENTER of the back. It appears that a number of these birds may actually show a back pattern that “conflicts” with the malar boldness. And ever since the recent split of these two “species,” their separation in the field has been made to seem easier than it really is. Please consider submitting more of these birds as Sagebrush/Bell’s and not as one species or the other, and please include multiple photos from multiple angles, if obtained. Another problematic Borrego species-duo as of late has been the Crissal/California Thrashers at the settling ponds, where some photos of “Crissal” have shown a California (or perhaps a hybrid). BOTH species of thrashers, and hybrid, have been seen there during the past weeks, months, and years.–Paul Lehman, San Diego