[Tweeters] quasi-pelagic birds in "Skagit"

jimbetz at jimbetz.com jimbetz at jimbetz.com
Sun Jul 31 13:24:21 PDT 2022


Help me out here. I have always thought that birds couldn't see the
political boundary lines. And they have these things called "wings".
Environmentally - in my mind - I don't see a meaningful difference
between Western Skagit County, Island County, and San Juan County.
County lines were defined without consideration for the ecological

I'm saying that it would seem that eBird checklists should be accepted
"as is" ... with respect to the -locations- of these 3 areas.

I am not saying that those birds were/were not sighted. I'm just
saying that challenging them based upon the county lines doesn't make
sense ... to me.

And I'd like to understand why it matters to you.

The waters of the greater Salish Sea area - from the mainland in
Skagit County and all the way West to Vancouver Island and all the
way North to somewhere around the Seymour Narrows (further) are,
with respect to bird habitats, essentially the same.
There are many local variations - such as the difference between
the waters behind Whidbey and those up around Sucia - that are very
different in terms of birds/wildlife/sea life that are expected
to be encountered ... and these variations certainly do affect
what birds are commonly seen in those areas.
But the likelihood of a puffin in Skagit County waters (or not)
does not seem to 'fit' with my understanding of why there are any
puffins in our waters at all/anywhere. Aren't these same puffins
seen in British Columbia and on both sides of Vancouver Island?
How do they move from one area to the other without crossing the
political boundaries?


There are many different skill levels of birders/eBird users/tweeters.
I don't consider myself to be "highly skilled". At all. And some of
the eBirders certainly seem pretty casual about their accuracy/lack of.
So challenging a report based upon the demonstrated skill level of the
person doing the reporting is certainly valid.

I, for one, take my eBird checklists pretty seriously. I try to not
over report nor under report. I am careful about location. I am
careful about the time of the checklist. Mostly I submit checklists
"as I go/when I'm birding" - but, sometimes, I do a checklist quite
some time later.
I am NOT a "life lister" and I do not "seek out rare or uncommon
birds". I'm perfectly happy just reporting what I do see.

Having said all of the above - there was one time when I reported
a bird at Ship and eBird challenged it ... even though it had been
reported by several others on the same day and both before and
after my checklist ... and on the days prior and following. To be
perfectly honest that made me question eBird's handling of "uncommon"
(it was not rare). My report was only accepted after I'd updated my
checklist with a photo.
I don't think that should have been required.

So, this got long winded ... I don't think "which County" should be
a concern.
- Jim in Burlington

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