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Nutmeg Mannikin was added to the ABA list in 2013.  As of Aug 2014 their name in Clements/eBird will change to Scaly-breasted Munia to bring our North American terminology into line with that used in the rest of the world.  These birds are also called "Spice Finches" in the pet trade.  I'm still getting used to the new name so my apologies if I throw a few "Mannikins" into my description below!

Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata: Scaly-breasted Munias are locally common in San Diego, Ventura, Orange and Los Angeles Counties especially along the major rivers.  They also occur in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, although they are generally less common there.  

Scaly-breasted Munias prefer riparian vegetation especially around the edges of water, such as reeds and reeds mixed with grass.  They are closely associated with tall seeding grass and other seeding plants.  Learning their distinctive calls will make them much easier to find, as they often remain hidden in vegetation and can be inconspicuous.  

Scaly-breasted Munias are strongly seasonal in Southern California, which is a bit of a mystery given that they are not believed to migrate.  Still, Scaly-breasted Munia is easiest to find between June and November and gets harder to find between January and April.  They are relatively easy to find in known breeding colony locations late June through mid October when the males are singing and displaying.  They are rare and/or hard to find the rest of the year.  It appears that at least some of this seasonality is related to dispersal away from breeding areas and changes in habits.  Outside of the breeding season, munias tend to stay low in vegetation and are best found by their calls.   

Most of the locations described below are allso good places for general birding.

Huntington Beach Central Park: A premier vagrant trap in Southern California.  Scaly-breated Munias are one of the most abundant species in the wetter portions of the park, especially in the eastern portion of the park (east of Golden West Blvd).  Look for them along the north and east side of the ephemeral lake in the eastern portion of the park.  This is perhaps the easiest place to find this species.

San Gabriel River in Pico Rivera: A thriving colony of Norther Red Bishops (formerly known as Orange Bishops) and Scaly-breasted Munias is in the weedy grasses going to seed, upstream side of Whittier Narrows Dam flood control gates. Directions: Park near here.  From the parting area, take river trail/bike path north, up and over the dam and down into the river bottom right in front of the gates.  This area is often damp and full of seeding grass, and attracts large numbers of seedeaters including buntings, munias, bishops, grosbeaks, blackbirds, towhees and sparrows.

Peck Road Water Conservation Park: A colony of Norther Red Bishops and Scaly-breasted Munias lives at the North End of the lake and also near the narrow canal that separates the North and South Lakes.  Note that this area is marked "No trespassing" and also has an active homeless encampment, so enter this area with caution and at your own risk.  Do not go alone. 

Note that this is a great area to find seedeaters of many types in the fall.  A more accessible area to check is west of the main parking lot.  

Lower Los Angeles River – the stream side vegetation and reeds both south and north of Willow St are good places to look for Northern Red Bishops and Scaly-breasted Munias in the breeding season.

Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park (currently CLOSED July 2014 – the reed beds around the edge of the lake host Scaly-breasted Munias, although they are harder to find here than at the locations listed above because they tend to stay in the reeds.  

Rio Hondo at Rush St – the small reed beds in the channel and the riparian edge in the 1/2 mile between Rush and Garvey.  Park on Rush Street and walk west to the bike path along the Rio Hondo.  Check the riparian edge and the walk north along the bike path.

5 Peters Canyon Rd, Irvine, CA. - Park across the street in the business park areas and walk across the street to the Peters Canyon concrete walled wash that runs parallel to the street and if you walk 100 yards (and typically way less) up stream or down stream and don't see a Munia, you may have your eyes closed!

Please let me know if you notice anything that needs to be modified on this page.

David Bell 2014

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App Updates

Spring migration is really heating up, and we hope you are getting out to enjoy it. We just wanted to let you know that there are several app updates that have just been released or in the pipeline that you should be seeing in the near future. 

Important information on the BirdsEye iOS upgrade

Birdlog Android

We are fixing some of the text entry issues that have been a real nuisance, so now text in comments should wrap correctly, and  auto-complete and auto-correct will be available where necessary. We are also making some small tweaks to the quick entry to hopefully make it more useful for field use.

Birdlog iOS

We will be addressing some isolated crashes that some users have been experiencing. (If you are getting frequent crashes, contact support. We can usually fix it for you.) We will also be cleaning up some things with the Quick Entry bar for some isolated cases where it didn't work.

  

Original BirdsEye App -- Free Upgrade to the New BirdsEye!!!

** Important information about the BirdsEye upgrade!! ** 

birdseye frameappstore

Amazingly, something like 30% of the people who have ever purchased the original BirdsEye in the last 5 years still use it at least once a month. 

That statistic tells us that BirdsEye users like it the way it is and many of you don't want us to change it.  However, BirdsEye reached to a point a couple of years ago where it became too difficult and expensive to maintain.  We came to the difficult decision to rebuild it.  We have been working on this upgrade for over a year now ... well, closer to two, actually.  We finally feel that this new version is ready to replace he original. We are thrilled to make it available for free to our original BirdsEye users.  We are really proud of it and you will see that it includes many features that are missing in the original, like seasonal bar charts, more species, more photos and better favorite locations.

However, there are some limitations we want you to know about, so please read on before you decide whether to upgrade.

Membership

The new upgrade is free and you don't need to pay anything to use it.  However, you will see that there are a couple of perks that are available only to "BirdsEye Members."  

So what's a BirdsEye Member?   Building, maintaining and improving an app like BirdsEye costs a lot of money, even with a low-paid and volunteer team of bird fanatics.  At the same time, we want to offer this upgrade for free to our existing and loyal users.  The solution we chose is to make the new BirdsEye free, and offer people a voluntary opportunity to contribute by becoming a member.  To be honest, the new app will prod and cajole you to become a member.  Please don't be offended and feel free to click "no thanks.".  If you are able to help us, and you want to, that's great.  If not, that's great too.   The important thing to remember is that ALL BirdsEye users benefit through upgrades and improvements that are mostly paid for by the contributions of members, so we hope you'll forgive the intrusion!

Please consider becoming a BirdsEye Member.

 

You'll need to move your existing BirdsEye life list

One of the coolest features of the upgrade is the ability view your eBird life lists with BirdsEye. In addition to being able to manually keep a list within BirdsEye, you can also download your eBird lists and view them within BirdsEye!  Your lists will be backed up to our servers so you can view them on your iPhone and your iPad!  We think this is a big step forward. 

In order to make this listing improvement however, we needed to change the way the list function works in BirdsEye. As a result, any life list currently in BirdsEye will need to be re-entered into the new version. There are a couple of ways you can do this:

1) Transfer your BirdsEye life list into eBird using these instructions. (Free eBird account required)

or

2) Write down the birds on your current list and then renter in the updated version of BirdsEye.

What Else is New?

The Good Stuff:

  • BAR CHARTS showing seasonal abundance for each bird
  • Automatically sync your life or year lists with eBird for the ABA area, world, country, state or even county!
  • BirdsEye life list that is backed up to the Cloud
  • Support for bird names in several languages
  • Membership to support bird conservation and to add some great features
  • More accurate reporting of sightings
  • Create Favorite locations for a quick view of what’s being seen in your favorite birding spots
  • Links to Flickr and Wikipedia within BirdsEye to see more photos and information on any species
  • Full screen on iPhone 5 and above

A few things to be aware of:

  • You will lose your life list in BirdsEye. See instructions for moving your life list.
  • Wifi or cell connection required for most functions. BirdsEye relies on constantly updating data from eBird and so an internet connection is necessary to download these updates.  Once downloaded, sounds and photos are avaiable offline.  We did this to keep the app small and light.  There are several reasons we did this: to be able to support all fo the specis of birds in the world and to keep the app size manageable. 
  • BirdsEye requires iOS 7 - the update is not compatible with iOS 6 and below.
  • The update may download automatically to your device depending on your settings. If you want to hold off on the update and keep the original BirdsEye app, you will need to go to settings and turn off automatic app updates.

We hope you're excited as we are about the latest BirdsEye!  We work hard to make your birding more fun for you.  As always we appreciate hearing your suggestions and feedback.

If you like it, we encourage you to let your friends know by posting a positive review!  

BirdBlog Guest Post:

Birding Tech: A Timeless Tradition Enters the Digital Age - Ernie Allison

For centuries, the sport of birdwatching conjured images of a man in the bush or crouched alongside a backcountry river with books and sketch pads in tow. As modern birders enter today’s technological revolution and adopt the latest gizmos and gadgets, however, they are putting a new face on a timeless tradition.

When I first began to see fellow birdwatchers showing up to the field with iPhones and tablets, I was admittedly concerned. I worried that the addition of these digital interfaces would prove to be a barrier, effectively separating the user from the nuanced, tangible world she had set out to witness. I saw the introduction of technology as a threat, one capable of inflicting a sort of “field blindness.”

It was my grandchildren who challenged my reservations and convinced me that I could have deeper, more meaningful experiences by utilizing the tools of the digital age. We had driven deep into the sagebrush hills of eastern Oregon, where I often go to view birds of prey—Bald Eagles, Great Horned Owls, Merlins, and American Kestrels. Any time we spotted a bird we could not readily identify, I would pull out my dog-eared copy of The Birds of North America while Nick and Hannah pulled out their smartphones. They beat me to a positive ID nine times out of ten.

Since that time, I have warmed up to the idea that the right technology can enhance my birding excursions. And as an advocate of citizen science as a tool for advancements in conservation, apps and hi-tech gadgets also allow me to provide more thorough, accurate data to research organizations.

Below are some of my favorite tech tools for birders:

Apps

  • eBird: For avid birders, eBird helps you keep track of your sightings. The information you enter is uploaded to a database along with many thousands of other user reports and used to generate interactive maps and graphs. What I most love about eBird is that it provides an international online community for fellow bird lovers to share highlights, ask questions, and compare notes. eBird also compiles data that is later shared with land managers, ornithologists, and conservation biologists to aid them in their research.
  • BirdLog allows you to record your sightings in the field and upload them directly to eBird, replacing the need for a field notebook. This innovative app provides comprehensive local data, such as abundance charts and nearby birding hotspots.
  • iBird Pro: This app, available across all mobile devices, is a good fit for beginning birders and remains my grandchildren’s favorite. iBird Pro is best used for identification purposes, allowing users to quickly sort their search by more than a dozen attributes—size, color, pattern, head shape, etc.

Gear

From spotting scopes with auto-focus and built in HD cameras, to GPS-enabled digital binoculars, optic technology is on the rise. Casual birders may not be ready to invest in the latest gear, but true enthusiasts and professional birdwatchers who foot the bill will be rewarded with the ability to spot more birds quickly, capture better photos and video footage, and easily record a wider cross-section of data. These binoculars, while beyond my budget, would have any birdwatching enthusiast drooling.

About the author: Ernie Allison  is a bird watcher with a love of life and 
nature, passionate about wildlife conservation. He writes for Bird 
Feeders.

BirdsEye NA iconThe “New” BirdsEye: A Second Look by Diana Doyle

This article first appeared in Birding magazine, published by the American Birding Association.

Check out BirdsEye in the iTunes App Store.

 

 

Permalink: http://www.birdseyebirding.com/index.php/news-a-reviews/blog/183-tools-of-the-trade 

Bird of the day calendar app.

BirdLog for Android Update

2013-11-11Today we are publishing a major update to BirdLog for Android now, including North America, World and all of the other regional versions.  The biggest improvement is that we have changed the options available for entering new sightings.  Your options now include:

1. use the quick entry bar to add counts.  For example, if you type "12 bcn" in the bar and then select "Black-crowned Night Heron" from the drop down menu, it will add 12 to your count for that species.

2. tap on the number to add 1 to your count

3. tap on the species name to manually edit the count or add a comment.  this is a good way to fix errors or enter a large count.

If you have BirdLog for Android, we encourage you to update. If you like the progress, please do us a favor and post a 5-star review. And as always we appreciate your suggestions and comments on how we can improve BirdLog in our next update.  

Please consider supporting our ongoing development of BirdLog and BirdsEye for Android by pre-purchasing BirdsEye for Android, or my making a targeted donation.

This new update includes some significant improvements:

    • One-tap incrementing of counts!!!
    • Bug fix: 4-letter codes sometimes brought up the wrong bird
    • Bug fix: sometimes when submitting sightings to a hotspot a new duplicate personal location was created.
    • Bug fix: personal location names were not appearing correctly in Europe.
    • Misc crash and bug fixes.

More Bird Naming Language Options

Naming Conventions

BirdLog for Android now supports bird names in all of the following languages:

    • (Add) de -- Deutsch
    • en-AU -- English (Australia)
    • en-NZ -- English (New Zealand)
    • (Add) en-IN -- English (India)
    • en-UK -- English (UK)
    • en-US -- English (United States)
    • (Add) es -- Español
    • es-CL -- Español (Chile)
    • es-AR -- Español (Argentina)
    • es-CU -- Español (Cuba)
    • es-DO -- Español (Dominicana)
    • es-MX -- Español (México)
    • es-PA -- Español (Panamá)
    • es-PR -- Español (Puerto Rico)
    • fr -- Français (France)
    • (Add) fr-CA -- Français (Canada)
    • id -- Bahasa Indonesia
    • ja -- 日本語
    • is-IS -- íslenska
    • pt-BR -- Português (Portugal)
    • pt-PT-- Português (Brasil)
    • tr -- Türkçe
    • zh -- 普通话
    • scientific -- Scientific

Permalink: http://www.birdseyebirding.com/index.php/news-a-reviews/blog/179-android-1-tap

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