[Tweeters] quasi-pelagic birds in "Skagit"

Michael Hobbs birdmarymoor at gmail.com
Sun Jul 31 13:46:48 PDT 2022

Jim - It does matter where the sightings are.

If we have accurate locations for birds like puffins, and those sightings
are gathered in a few places, it might mean that there are streams there
with good runs of smelt or herring or salmon. Being able to identify which
streams are producing important fish can help prioritize protection of
those streams.

Or perhaps there are healthy underwater conditions there that support small
and juvenile fish; again it could help in locating important areas for
protection. If a fish farm wanted to construct pens on a site with many
alcids feeding, that would be terrible.

Accurate data is inherently useful. Without it, scientists and
environmentalists have to start from scratch. Without existing data, it
may not be feasible to even investigate a site before approval is given.

= Michael Hobbs

On Sun, Jul 31, 2022 at 1:24 PM <jimbetz at jimbetz.com> wrote:

> Gary,


> 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

> environment.


> 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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