Well, for a project that was supposed to just take a few months, this sure took the cake. But it’s live at last: check it out! birdsearch.org.
I created the site 3 years ago, and even though very few people actually use it (I should probably have let people know it was there) I’ve found it invaluable for my own birding. This new version was a complete rewrite in React, Redux, react-intl with a Node backend. It’s still in beta – I’ve got a running list of bugs and enhancements to fix on github here. But as a first draft I’m very pleased.
I’ll write a separate post about the technology behind it all, but feature-wise there are lots of nice improvements:
- Better UI / user experience. The site now welcomes you with two easy options: Search Nearby and Search Anywhere. 9 times out of 10, I found I used the site to keep track of what was being sighted in my neighbourhood. This let’s me get that info at the touch of a single button.
- Simplified search. I moved all “advanced” features to a settings section. That’s where you find the option to search Notable Sightings,
- Extra stuff removed. I removed the option to search for nearby hotspots. It didn’t add much, and the eBird website offers this functionality in a far better format.
- Wikipedia links for all species. This is a rather nifty option. When you browse the sightings, each bird species shows a Wikipedia link. Clicking it takes you to a wikipedia article about the species. When I use the site to browse birds in far-off places I’m going to be visiting, I find this feature particularly useful.
- Misc UI improvements. Sightings now link to the original checklist on eBird; all data is sortable (species name, location, sightings count, etc); you can filter locations and results by a search string to pinpoint exactly what species/location you’re interested in.
So yeah, check it out.