|The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place to note of any observations you have made of the world around you. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers. All are worthy additions to the bucket. Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment. Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
Castro Valley, CA
Continued below the orange coprolite
The GBBC is February 14-17, 2014. That stands for the Great Backyard Bird Count, and it is, of course, citizen science, and hence a good thing to do. It is also just submitting data which can also be submitted to eBird. In fact, submitting it to ebird during that period will automatically also enter it into the GBBC dataset whether you use the free eBird submission app I discuss below or not.
According to the e-mail announcement I received from the GBBC folks:
Thanks to support from Pennington, the BirdLog eBird app is now being offered for free right now for both iPhone and Android smartphone operating systems. You can use the app any time between now and February 28 to submit your checklists to eBird. Your sightings will be included in the Great Backyard Bird Count if you use the app during February 14-17. You can log in with your existing GBBC/eBird account or create an account if you don't already have one. BirdLog South America and Europe for iPhone and Android are also free through the end of February!OK, so I'm not entirely clear on what this is about in one respect. BirdLog for North America costs just a bit under ten bucks. I think this is a teaser to get you hooked on BirdLog,. What I do know, after using it a bit, is that it beats the website for data entry so bad that I've pretty much convinced myself to buy the ten dollar version when this one expires on March 1.
Why? Efficiency and ease of use. I fire it up and tell it to submit observations. It shows me my sites and any hot spots near my GPS location or permits other choices. Then is shows today's date and time with the option to change them. Next comes data entry: scroll to first species, tap it, tap the number and up pops a keypad to enter the correct number.
OK, so far, maybe not such a great improvement, but – remember BAND CODES? Heh. First thing I saw was 3 Oak Titmouse, so, up above the checklist in the shortcut box I enter “3 oati”, and then confirm that I'm reporting 3 Oak Titmouse, next a couple of doves, “2 modo” and confirm. Any order I please and it jumps to them. Wait! I saw two more titmouse later. Fine, I enter “2 oati” and confirm that I now am reporting 5 Oak Titmouse. If I'm not up to speed on BAND CODES, or not sure of one, I can use the english name and it will home in on what I want.
OK, Very smooth, very slick and very hard not to use.. I come around the side of the house and the back yard is full of birds. Fine, open app, submit report, log what I see, hit the done key and tell it that my observing session was 2 minutes. You can do that all damn day, and pretty much anywhere. There is a provision for adding comments as well, and entry boxes for whether it is a complete report and the duration.
I'm really serious that I will buy it cash. It also has an “offline report” mode, build the report and submit later, but that runs a bit slow for me. I suspect this to be because it loads the database for the entire globe, or at least seems to. If so, the ten dollar North America version would probably not bog down nearly so much in offline mode.
Should you ever plan on going to Europe, BTW, you might just bag the BirdLog Europe app while it is free. Ditto South America.
OK, this IS The Daily Bucket, How about we now proceed onto reports of what we've all seen going on -
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Now It's Your Turn What have you noted happening in your area or travels? As usual post your observations as well as their general location in the comments.