[CT Birds] About Reporting
rmharvey at snet.net
Thu May 17 23:47:38 EDT 2012
Because I have to go through all the reports in detail each day when compiling the daily report, I get a different perspective on the way reports are written, and what is often missing. Also because I have occasion to search archives of CTBirds and older reports I know some obstacles that crop up. Here are a few ideas about basic things that should be included.
The Town. This is pretty basic. A report that gives specific street intersections but doesn't mention the town (because the town was in a message yesterday) leaves you with incomplete information. Likewise mentioning a park or other well known or obscure location without the town. You probably know the town, and it is easy enough to include. It may not matter much if the place is Hammonasset, but there are very few Hammonassets.
The Species. Nobody is going to get upset if you say Woodcock instead of American Woodcock, and Nighthawk when you mean Common Nighthawk isn't going to confuse anyone. But someone searching five years of messages for Whip-poor-will isn't going to find a match if you just say Whips, and Bonnies won't be found in a search for Bonaparte's Gull. The same is true of other nicknames and even worse when banding codes or even shorter abbreviations (I'm thinking of some hawk watchers here who get down to two characters at times) are used. It should not be necessary to go back to a previous day's message for an explicit statement of the species being reported (kite vs Swallow-tailed Kite, for one example).
Your Name. One of the rules of the list is that every post has to have your name and town. I am very lax at enforcing this, but even ignoring that it is a rule it seems like common courtesy to everyone getting your message to identify yourself. I've never cared for anonymous communications. This can be as simple as updating the default From line in your email heading to include your name.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who tries to provide reports in the format used in the daily report that summarizes. There is nothing special about that format except that it makes my life a little bit easier each night. I don't consider it a requirement, but I do appreciate it when I find it.
Thanks, and good birding!
Beacon Falls, CT
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