Hey birders! Three quick eBird-related things to be thinking about:
There were 6+ sightings of Golden-crowned Sparrows reported during early to mid-August 2023 along the Bear Creek Greenway, etc. These were exceptionally early, and they were by far the most southerly records of the fall so far anywhere in the US. The first wave of southbound Golden-crowneds hit southern British Columbia during the final days of August. Are these potentially over-summering birds? Is there a very dedicated early return of birds to this small area for some reason? So far, none of those sightings include photo/audio documentation and may be re-reviewed.
I should also mention here that whatever Merlin claims to be hearing out in the field CANNOT be trusted. All identifications entered into eBird checklists need to be confirmed by the birder, not Merlin.
Northern Shrikes return to the area in mid-October, but there is potential for earlier arrivals. From now on, any sightings of the Loggerhead Shrike near the White City Lagoons need to provide adequate documentation to be approved in eBird. Please take extreme care in IDing the continuing Loggerhead versus any early migrant Northerns!
Which leads to the final thing.... if you chase after or otherwise see a continuing rarity, simply writing 'continuing' in your eBird comments is not acceptable. All sightings of rarities and/or species high counts should be treated as novel sightings and require some sort of documentation, written or photographic. A few quick words can often be enough! For example, "Three continuing Short-billed Dowitchers with tiger-striped tertials and rapid tu-tu-tu call foraging in same area as previously reported" says a lots more than "continuing". This not only helps to keep the eBird database as accurate as possible, but it also helps your fellow birders who may also want to try and find these 'continuing' birds.
Thanks, and I'm sorry to sound like the eBird police! Happy to chat about any of this if you'd like to send me a private email at aslam...@gmail.com