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Charlie Spencer

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Everything posted by Charlie Spencer

  1. Do you think your next field guide will be a conventional printed book, a conventional field guide but in an e-book, or a tablet / phone application? Or have you already bought your last field guide, and plan on using online resources like All About Birds in the future? Just trolling for general opinions and impressions. As a network administrator, I'm always interested in how people are changing their habits to incorporate new technologies.
  2. I think it's safe to say. . .

    What I'm seeing is fewer birds at my feeders. In the depths of winter I had to refill them every other day. The past couple of weeks, I'm only refilling every four to five days.
  3. Seed with hot pepper?

    15-pound terrier.
  4. Need help cleaning a nyger feeder

    Socks are inexpensive enough to buy a second one and swap them out. Take one down, hang the other, wash the first one, and let it air dry. Then put it aside until you're ready to take the other one down.
  5. Most small webcams have built in microphones and can be had for well under $100. Computer speakers are less than $20. Does the audio have to be the live birds in their yard? You can stream recorded bird sounds from a number of sources. They're intended as 'white noise' or background sounds.
  6. You might be a birder...

    Personally, I think I'm an Eeyah bird. I just can't decide if I'm a Nothern Eeyah or a Southern Eeyah.
  7. You might be a birder...

    Northern Mockingbird.
  8. That's pretty much how I operate these days. I don't feel the need to immediately identify what I'm seeing; I can wait until later. My next field guide is likely to be in electronic format. I have a relatively new tablet with a good size screen, and reference material strikes me as a good use. I'm not crazy about buying printed references that I know will be outdated in a few years. I feel differently about fiction and other genres that don't have changes between editions. If I find I don't like a guide in an electronic form, I can always go back to print. They're not that expensive either way. I'm not a big app user in general. Most of them leave me wishing they had the features of a full-blown computer- or web-based application. Maybe it's because I'm another late adopter of smart phones. I still find the relatively small keyboards and displays to be cumbersome. That brings me back to being willing to wait until I get home and can use the full-sized keyboard and the 24" monitor.
  9. You might be a birder...

    Most of the time, that's too much work. For example: Her-mit Thrush - three syllables. Aych-Ee-Tee-Aych - four syllables. Unless the bird's name is five or more syllables, you're making work for yourself. Abbreviations that are effective in text or online are often counterproductive in spoken language. [rant] TV cook Rachael Ray always says something like, "Add the EVOO; that's 'Extra Virgin Olive Oil'..." as if it was all one word. If you're going to define the abbreviation every freakin' time you use it, what's the point? [\rant]
  10. You might be a birder...

    I STRONGLY recommend against this if the bird in question could be a gull, pigeon, or other winged rodent.
  11. Un-Ethical Birding

    What's the general opinion of using an electronic device to play bird calls in an attempt to attract them? I can see situations where t isn't acceptable. I'd frown on using them during breeding seasons as the sound may distract potential mating partners, or inadvertently pull adults off nests to defend against a threat that isn't there. On the other hand, if the user is a paid guide with a couple of dozen people and doesn't over do it, I can see that as okay. Thoughts?
  12. Monopods

    I have the FZ70, which is no longer available. It does a very good job for me but I'm not an artist. I'm interested in getting photos to ID and record what I saw in the field. My primary criteria was the longest optical zoom I could get for under $400, and the FZ70 had a 60x. So does the still-available FZ80, which I assume is the replacement model. Knowing what I do now, I'd have looked for something that also had a faster shutter speed. There are times when the FZ70's fastest manually settable 1/250 of a second is a bit slow for bird photos. Other than that, I'm satisfied with it and have no plans to replace it.
  13. Canadian geese on cliff

    Nice job using a technical nit picking to avoid answering the primary question You used the word 'nesting'. Did you see them there regularly, or signs of a nest? Canada Geese nest on the ground on a large pile of material they've gathered close to the water (often right beside it). Goslings can swim long before they can fly, so I doubt they'd nest that far above the water. If you didn't see them again, they were likely just passing through.
  14. Funny you should mention that. I did most of the 'heavy lifting' (data export from one app and import into eBird) on Sunday while waiting for the NASCAR race to get past a rain delay.
  15. Major dips in 2018

    Load 'em up, @MerMaeve! I'll pay the gas, but I am NOT cleaning the van.
  16. For the ones with general locations, you can enter data without exact locations. eBird will accept counties or even states.
  17. If you have locations for those species, see my reply to HamRHead above.
  18. Regarding the counts, eBird will accept an 'X'. This indicates you saw the species but don't have a count or estimate. Regarding the dates, The Gospel According to eBird says to choose the Observation Type 'Incidental', enter the date 'Jan 01 1900', and enter the Comment 'Baseline Life List'. You can also enter any date guess-timate ('Australia Trip - month, year', 'October 1980', etc) in the Comment too.
  19. What's giving you trouble? Are you not comfortable with entering data of any kind into eBird? Are you comfortable with entering US data in eBird but can't figure out how to add Aussie locations? If you can give a bit more detail, I'm pretty sure I can get you through it. I do get paid to provide tech support for a living.
  20. Yay, Michigan. There is no better place to get frostbite and lose your toes!
  21. I've abandoned hope of entering my legacy 16 (actually 17). I can't even pin some of them down to an exact year. I have no clue where I would have seen a Roseate Spoonbill or an American Flamingo. I don't remember being in their ranges, but there's a check mark for them. The Snowy Owl, Black-Capped, and Mute, Tundra, and Trumpeter Swans must have been from our Michigan years. As to the rest? Not even a guess. My long-term / life birding goal is to see those 17 again so I can enter them. I did have a lot of sightings that had locations but no dates. Those went in as 01 Jan 1900, the date eBird says to use for otherwise undated legacy data, and as Incidental observation types. Getting all my sightings into eBird was my New Year's resolution. I had them in an other application but I wanted them on line and accessible for research. Fortunately, the other app had a utility to export to a format that eBird could import. I had to key a few hundred sightings in manually, but the export - import did most of the heavy work.
  22. Phillip Davis

    You might try the photo discussions https://www.whatbird.com/forum/index.php?/forum/1402-bird-photography/ https://www.whatbird.com/forum/index.php?/forum/1410-photo-sharing-and-discussion/
  23. My first with solid date is a Prothonotary Warbler in April 1993. There are 44 birds entered before that one, but they're all '01-01-1900', eBird's preferred date for otherwise undocumented life list entries. Those 44 don't include another list of 16 or so that I don't even have dates or locations for, just a checklist in the back of a book. Of those, the most likely to be my 'first' bird is Black-Capped Chickadee or Purple Finch, from our days in Upper Michigan in the late '60s.
  24. Yellow Cardinal

    The colors remind me of an oriole.
  25. Monopods

    So I took the new Slik E-Z Pod Jr ($40, B&H) out for GBBC. It added stability for my max zoom shots (60x) on my Panasonic 'bridge' Lumix. Longer range images are much clearer. Definitely money well spent. There are probably much better monos, but this was an excellent model for learning if I can get value from one. @Usha, it sounds like you're missing a couple of key features. A quick release allows you to quickly removing the camera from a mono- or tripod. Yes, there's a plate that attaches and will be in the way, but it's usually much easier to remove than screwing and unscrewing the entire -pod every time. I'm not sure how much yours weighs, but mine is only a 1.5 pounds. While that's almost the same weight as the camera itself, it is long and sturdy enough to double as a walking stick.