Into crowd sourcing

Having no computer in the last 9 months made my life full of hassle. Being restricted to a smart phone made progress of everything a bit slow. Now this old buddy is fixed, probably for the last time, and I jumped into multiple tasks to be able to catch up. Surprisingly, I made nice progress with the species accounts of the shorebird handbook and could manage to do some birding on the Global Big Day on 9 May.

For me, the most important ‘event’ of the past few weeks was the release of a crowd funding campaign for the handbook. As funds are limited and not available for many things, including participating shorebird conferences, I asked my friends and social media community for donating the project. I’m normally sceptic about the positive outcome of such donation campaigns, but since I’m quite frequently donating, I thought I could also be successful. The campaign proved to be a good idea and as of today I’ve got £475. I’m not only happy by the amount donated, but the feeling others think this project worth to ‘invest’ in. With this help I probably can attend an important conference to be held in Virginia in September. I still have some time to get the desired £2,000 for this travel. Here is my GoFundMe campaign for further details.

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The next couple of weeks will be spent working harder to be able to travel in September and also will be sitting in front of my laptop and finishing the oystercatcher accounts.

If you feel this publishing project is worth to support, please donate even with a small amount.

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Charles Duncan about the World Shorebirds Day

Former director of Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, Charles Duncan wrote an excellent article about the World Shorebirds Day for the International Wader Study Group Bulletin. Charles has been one of the great supporter of World Shorebirds Day and I just hope his article encourages other organisation leaders to celebrate shorebirds in 2015.

Please find the article here. Full text can be accessed here.

Birding journaling by the Day One app

I have some difficulties to write, even on my native language but I love to write! I am not sure how many people is interested what I have been writing but I always loved to write. Writing is an expression for me, often works better than talking. However my writing is rather restricted to a single topic what is always around birds. I learned from my ‘teachers’ that making notes on birding observations is important and could be beneficial for birds. They were right. I have been keeping bird records more or less for about 30 years.

In these days entering simple numbers next to a bird name in a birding app isn’t really satisfies me. I need to add some personal feelings, sometimes could be personal and private. Those I don’t share with the public but I keep them for myself for future. It is good to look back and see what and why I thought this and that.

hero-dayone-iconI found an app which is not only easy to use and having a lovely interface but offered exactly what I needed for keeping my public or private saying. I have been using the Day One app for a while and I love it. It is available for both a desktop computer and mobile devices. The feature list impressed me even for the earlier versions but the Version 1.9.x for iOS contains a bunch of new features which encourages me to use it more often.

Image courtesy of Bloom Built, LLC

Image courtesy of Bloom Built, LLC

Just to list some of the key features which I love from the birding notes making point of view:

  • Map function with the current location service integrated – I love mapping and love to see my records on the map. Especially upon sharing it could be a useful feature.
  • Fancy text editing options (bold, italic, list etc.)
  • Easy date and time changing option – by default it adds the current date so I don’t need to bother remembering the dates and times as I am normally start using the app in the field.
  • Integrated weather information – when entering location information weather info for the actual location and date is automatically added.
  • Option to add or take image directly in the app – weak point for me is that I can add only one image per post but I can live with that bottleneck.
  • Tags – I extensively use tags for my posts for easier search.
  • Synching – I prefer my iCloud service over Dropbox but that is a personal taste. Both are available for backing up the whole content. Synching is rather fast and works properly.
  • While sharing is not the feature what I have utilized but it has Twitter and Foursquare integration. Facebook is yet missing.
  • Keeping it private – You can use pass lock against lurkers.

As a birder I love to start making filed notes while in the field. While earlier I entered manually every bird names and numbers to Day One, recently I use the eBird BirdLog app to keep and submit my records. This way my records are used for good purposes. When the record is submitted to eBird I copy the checklist and paste it into actual entry in the Day One app where I can easily add additional and personal comments.

The desktop version should have had a way more potential for additional features but interestingly it is weaker than the mobile version. I miss the location service a lot. If I make my note in the desktop version I always go to the iOS version to edit it and add the location info manually. I hope it will be improved by time.

Here are some features I would love to see in future updates:

  • Capability to add GPS info to off-road locations
  • Multiply image uploading per post
  • Direct publishing option to major blogger sites like WordPress
  • Facebook integration
  • Map view of all the entries by tags

I highly recommend this app for anyone likes to record the happenings of life. Last but not least Day One app was awarded by Apple as the 2012 Mac App of the Year!

Personal website or 500px.com gallery?

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I have been undecided for a while whether to have an personal website for my bird images or keeping my recent bird gallery hosted by 500px.com. Both has advantages and disadvantages. I would be happy to have a self designed, beautifully looking website where I could pack all my birding and bird photography related stuff in. On the other hand 500px offers almost everything I  would need except custom design of my gallery.

Designing an own webpage could be time consuming and rather expensive at the end of the day but could also be way more attractive. I have already made some design ideas but as I have no idea of the programming these remained ideas. Apart of the design I would like to make my site interesting and filled by bird related content. Those ideas cannot be integrated to my current 500px gallery so a combined solution is probably a best way.

I would probably make a website with all those features I wanted to add while using my 500px gallery linked from my website. The scoring and the Like feature is nice at 500px so I would not spend much money for programming that. Image resolution is acceptable as it doesn’t over compress my images. Adding some nice features I haven’t yet been found elsewhere is also a challenging but beneficial task.

So far the gallery is running with old images for the time being. As the date of my return as a bird photographer is closer than ever I can add new images with the new gear using new processing technics. Starting the ‘second half’ of my bird photography should be the turning point of making an own bird image gallery.