2014 birding sum up

Posted on Jan 4, 2015 in Birding | 0 comments

Last year I ended up with a total of 262 BC birds, ranking me 15th in the province on the eBird list, and joint 80th in Canada as a whole. Not a bad year! This year I hope to get up the Peace River region to catch the array of birds you can only see up there and hopefully go on a few more pelagics (boat trips for birds). I had to miss out on 3 months of birding due to my wife getting sick (she’s a lot better now), so my numbers aren’t quite what I hoped. But all in all, a good year.

Bring on 2015.

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2013 birding sum-up

Posted on Jan 1, 2014 in Birding, Blog | 0 comments

So here’s the 2013 birding sum-up. I ended up with 245 BC birds (ranked 18th on the eBird list), 258 in Canada (92nd in Canada), and 390 year birds in total. Not too bad! But this year I hope to crank it up a notch.

Today I did an informal Big Day and saw 62 bird species around Vancouver, including a couple of long-eared owls (Boundary Bay) and a couple of snow bunting (Tsawwassen Ferry terminal jetty). Fun day.

Now back to work + open source. :)

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235 and counting

Posted on Oct 27, 2013 in Birding, Blog | 0 comments

Just got two new birds down at Blackie Spit, Surrey: a marbled godwit and a whimbrel. How frickin’ awesome is that.

Up to 235 BC Birds for year. Shooting for 250. If I get 250 my wife buys me a bottle of prosecco. If I lose, I buy her one. Tense days.

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birdsearch.org

Posted on Aug 27, 2013 in Birding, birdsearch.org, Open Source Projects | 0 comments

birdsearch

The last month or two I’ve been revising ebirdsearch.org, and today I’m very pleased to announce its successor: birdsearch.org.

Other than being rebranded at the new domain, I also added a number of nice new features:

  • In addition to searching bird sightings, you can now also search notable sightings. Notable sightings are those that are flagged as unusual in a particular region and date. For birders, this is often the most useful and interesting information to learn about.
  • The tool now also lets you search for popular birding locations, and has the option to limit those results to locations that have had recent sightings (1-30 days).
  • Multi-language support. Right now, only English, French, German and Spanish.

I still have a long laundry list of features I want to add (like mobile support…!) but thought I’d release it now that this milestone was reached.

The entire codebase is found on github, here. Feel free to fork the project and do whatever you’d like with the code.

Check it out! :)

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Upcoming eBirdsearch.org updates

Posted on Mar 23, 2013 in Birding, birdsearch.org, Open Source Projects | 0 comments

There are a few changes coming to eBirdsearch.org – it’s been tricky finding decent blocks of time to work on the script, but I should get all tomorrow.

The next version will include two new important features.

  • mobile support. It’s working right now, but not as well as I’d hoped. There are so many varieties of mobile device to support, it’s proving a real headache getting it working across the board.
  • Notable vs. All observation searching. This is a new feature – it limits the search results to only observations flagged as “notable” in the eBird database.

Coming soon. :)

[EDIT: Yuck. I’m going to restructure the code to all use AMD and requireJS. It’s only 1500 or so lines, but it’s already getting out of control. This should greatly improve code intelligibility.]

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eBirdsearch.org

Posted on Mar 9, 2013 in Birding, birdsearch.org, Open Source Projects | 5 comments

ebirdsearch

I just released the first version of eBirdsearch.org – check it out!

I created eBirdsearch.org to fill what I regard as a rather conspicuous gap in the functionality of the amazing eBird.org site.

If you haven’t discovered eBird yet, do so now. It’s an incredible resource and tool for birders, ornithologists, educators – anyone interested in birds. Birders around the world submit millions of observations a year to eBird, providing a wealth of information for viewing and analysis. The more people use it, the better it becomes.

The problem is, the search functionality currently available through eBird is fairly limited. As a birder, I wanted a clear and high-level overview of a region: where are the popular hotspots? What locations yield the most birds? Which are most common? This site attempts to help plug that gap.

All the code for this site is open source and free for anyone to download and play with. I’ve endeavoured to keep the number of data requests to eBird’s site to a minimum so it doesn’t put too much of a stress on their servers, but if it does, they’re entirely within their rights to ask me to take the site down. Hopefully it won’t come to that. I very much hope that one day this sort of functionality will be available directly through eBird, but in the meantime I’ll try to keep the site up and running.

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eBird hotspot search

Posted on Feb 11, 2013 in Birding, Open Source Projects | 0 comments

This is an experiment to try different ways of viewing eBird data to provide a better understanding of bird sightings and distribution.

Right now it’s pretty basic. It uses a Google Map-based UI to show hotspots that have had bird reports made within a particular time period (1-30 days), and the option to view the bird species data made within any subset of those hotspots.
http://www.benjaminkeen.com/experiments/eBirdAdvancedSearch/

You can find the code on github, here:
https://github.com/benkeen/eBirdAdvancedSearch

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Hawaii birding pics

Posted on Nov 22, 2012 in Birding, Fun Stuff | 0 comments

Just got back from Kauai, Hawaii. Not the best place on earth for birds, but I added another 27 species to my life list – and cracked the 400 species bird count for the year! I just put up a gallery of the better shots I took. No real stunners but a couple aren’t too bad.
http://www.benjaminkeen.com/birding/hawaii-2012/

As always, I’ve uploaded the better pictures to Wikimedia Commons and updated the odd wikipedia page as well (e.g. the Kauai Amakihi).

Sadly, that’s the last trip I’ll be taking this year. The year’s highlights were definitely New Zealand and Costa Rica. Should be returning to Costa Rica next spring – pity NZ is so damn far away…!

Enjoy.

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