BirdsEye Hotspots App – Get it!

I’ve been beta testing BirdsEye Hotspots for iOS, a co-produced app by BirdsEye Birding and Nemesis Code, for a few weeks now. I use it multiple times a day when I’m birding. It comes in handy when I’m not entirely sure where a birding hotspot is located or when I want to bird somewhere new. The app is essential for a fun-filled, smooth day of birding! (P.S. This will be crucial for navigating to spots during a Big Day.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIRDSEYE HOTSPOTS: Worldwide hotspot finding

BirdsEye Hotspots is a simple tool for birders. It makes it quick and easy to find nearby hotspots so you can quickly get there and start birding!

  • County listers rejoice! Always know which county you are in and which county your hotspots are in.
  • Get driving, walking and transit directions to any hotspot worldwide in your favorite apps. Hotspots currently works with many of the popular map and navigation apps.
  • Link directly to the new BirdsEye apps to view local abundance charts of the birds found at each hotspot. (requires BirdsEye NA or any of the other regional BirdsEye apps)
  • One tap button to copy the latitude and longitude of a hotspot or your current location to quickly share with others.
  • Local weather data – you need to know what the conditions will be when searching for your next birding spot. That spot that is excellent in sunny conditions can be brutal when its stormy while rainy weather can prompt you to head to nearby lakes to look for waterfowl.
  • Sunrise and sunset times so you always know how much more daylight you have to twitch that rarity.
  • World wide access to eBird hotspots

Note: Requires WiFi or data connection to access hotspot data.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Every birder should own this app. For $4.99 you can’t beat it!

Get the app here!

Phone Skope Video Compilation!

Here’s a video compilation I made using iMovie for iOS. The video, Phone Skope Birding, is comprised of birds digiscoped with an iPhone 4S + Celestron Regal M2 80ED & Phone Skope Adapter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNOwjLvzu5Q

Be sure to check out www.phoneskope.com for your smartphone digiscoping needs! Also, follow Phone Skope on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google +, and Instagram!

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks in southern Delaware!

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck in Rehoboth, DE on 18 July 2013. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

A pair of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were first reported on July 15 at King’s Creek Country Club in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks are casual vagrants in Delaware with eight previously accepted records.

Image provided by eBird (www.ebird.org) and created 31 July 2013.

Looking at eBird records (pictured above), Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks are common vagrants throughout the eastern half of the country. There was a single bird in northern Maryland during the same time the birds in Rehoboth Beach were present. Golfers at the country club said that there were five birds present, but birders only observed two, max. I was fortunate to see only one of those birds. It took me about a dozen tries and a few afternoons/evening of solid birding to find one. I think only three other birders were able to track down this bird.

 

 

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks seek refuge in marshes in the southern US, feed on aquatic plants, grains, grass, insects, and mollusks, and nest in tree cavities.

During my visit, I watched the bird from a distance for about five minutes. It was not associating with the flock of Canada Geese directly, but outside of the golf course it most likely was. It spent most of its time feeding during my stay, but also started calling as I was leaving. It was doing a similar call to the recording below:

I was able to obtain a decent digiscoped video from a distance with my iPhone 4S + Celestron Regal M2 80ED & Phone Skope Adapter (Watch on 1080p for best quality).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0WbA-EyYgk

This bird was gave me 388 for my ABA Year List and 199 for my Delaware Year List. I dipped super hard on it in southeast AZ and all of my searching/recon in southern Delaware paid off. It is a great addition to my Delaware Life List, which is now at 243. Here’s to hoping more vagrants start showing up in Delaware!

Literature Cited:

Andrew Spencer, XC102174. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/102174.

James, J. D., and J. E. Thompson. 2001. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis). In The Birds of North America, No. 578 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Sullivan, B.L., C.L. Wood, M.J. Iliff, R.E. Bonney, D. Fink, and S. Kelling. 2009. eBird: a citizen-based bird observation network in the biological sciences. Biological Conservation 142: 2282-2292.

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/black-bellied_whistling-duck/id

Upcoming Release: BirdsEye Hotspots for iOS

“Do you need fast directions to a new birding spot? Traveling and have no idea where to go birding? Hotspots does all this and more…coming summer 2013!”

Be sure to check out http://hotspots.launchrock.com/ and sign up to get the latest updates on BirdsEye Hotspots and be notified as soon as it hits the App Store!

The NEW BirdsEye!

We use BirdsEye, a lot. Well, you can say we are addicts. The old BirdsEye is awesome and the NEW BirdsEye looks to blow it out of the water. Here’s why:

“To address these problems we have embarked on a ground-up rebuild of BirdsEye and are adding some cool new features in the process. In this first version the new BirdsEye already provides some useful new features not in the original, including:

  • import eBird life and year lists for any country, state or county
  • display local abundance charts for all nearby birds based on a radius that you select from 1 to 50 miles
  • see which of the local birds are “needs” (i.e. they aren’t already on your list)
  • provide regional versions covering much of the world
  • you can change the naming convention for birds from a large number of eBird naming options including US, UK and Australian English, Scientific, Spanish and French

The latest version of the New BirdsEye NA and regional versions are now roughly on par with the Original BirdsEye, although there are pros and cons. The latest update of BirdsEye NA in the App Store includes the ability to browse Hotspots and see recent “Notable” sightings near you.

We have not made a final decision on how to roll it out to existing BirdsEye users. The issues here are somewhat complex. First, it isn’t ready yet. Second, it will never be identical, and some people love the original just like it is, so we think many people will not want to change. Third, the model of selling apps is probably not sustainable for us in this niche market of high-end birding apps. We cannot afford to improve and support our app as much as we need to, despite relying mostly on low-paid and/or volunteer labor. At some point I believe that we need to transition to a subscription approach and the rollout of the new BirdsEye may be the right time to do that.  

We want to roll it out for Android when we have sufficient financial support to do that.  Supporting Android is likely to be unprofitable, but it is important for our mission of promoting eBird, especially among younger users and birders outside of the US.”

All information used with permission from the BirdsEye Birding Team