New WOS Sightings Page

I notice that on the Sightings Page on the otherwise excellent new WOS Website there is a spreadsheet showing which species are likely to be published on the site. Going from my understanding of the spreadsheet, if I had sent a list of my sightings from today at Coate, and yesterday at Liddington, the only species that would have been mentioned was the Goosander. Does that infer that all of the other species that I saw were unimportant and of no interest to other birdwatchers? I appreciate that I was not at the A.G.M. when the new website was rolled out so I may have missed an explanation of the reasoning behind the creation of this list. However it seems a little strange to me that species such as Common Sandpiper, Lapwing, Barn Owl, Kingfisher, Stonechat, Yellow Wagtail, Corn Bunting etc etc are deemed to be of such little interest. If you do happen to be interested in the whereabouts of any of these dull and boring species there are some fine local sightings websites that are keen to report them.                                http://swindon-birds.co.uk/currentsightings.html http://cotswoldwaterpark.wordpress.com/

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10 responses to “New WOS Sightings Page

  1. Malcolm, I saw that list and couldn’t understand what it was trying to say. I can’t now find that list so perhaps someone has removed it to make more sense of it. Thank you for the website plug.

  2. Sorry, found it again and still can’t understand it. There is a danger that if you think your sightings are not being used you won’t submit them (i know they are sent to Rob but not everyone does). This does seem to exclude newcomers to birdwatching from finding out where some of these birds are. There are also some species that you will find together on passage and can report one and not the other.

    • Maybe it is just the way it is worded but on past form i think not. As you say, newcomers and also casual and visiting birders would be interested in the location of many of these species. Corn Buntings are a good example, a common bird for me but rare just a short distance away. Also a larger list of species can give a good indication of whether a site is worth visiting or not.

  3. Trevor Clayson

    Agree with your comment about large lists. We visit websites when planning how to spend the weekend and if people are reporting a good variety of birds in a location albeit many of them common we know we are likely to have a good day. Regarding not finding the spreadsheet, its not obvious that clicking on sightings gives you a fourth option. We may not have found it at all if you hadn’t mentioned it.

    Trevor & Sue

    • That is exactly how I decide on places to visit when I am out of area. I fully appreciate that managing websites can be time consuming but if you choose to do it then it should be done properly. On a personal website such as Steve’s it is entirely up to the person who has created the site what they do and don’t put on. However a Society site should be inclusive and cater for all levels of interest, not just for the higher level. Also a Sightings page is the place a new visitor will go to and as such the quality of the information within is the thing that will encourage people to visit the site again. This in turn will encourage others to visit local sites which is of benefit to all.

  4. Richard Williams

    Help! I can’t find the spreadsheet….. I was at the AGM but the spreadsheet was not mentioned if I recall correctly. To be fair, WOS has “always” (in my 2 years) concentrated on more “special” sightings which is why I love Swindon birds so much because Steve seems to accept all sightings. I am sure WOS will respond positively to some constructive feedback given the new design is still embryonic.

  5. Richard Williams

    Thanks I see now. I understand your point, Malcolm, but I suggest what gets on the site is not going to change: Swallows, wheatears, starlings are all “excluded” but do appear if the sighting is interesting in terms of time (first swallow this week-end), quantity or location. That said there are some exclusions that stand out – I would be very pleased to see a grey partridge for example. I suspect WOS have used this for some time as a checklist and have now made it available to users. I know in the past i have sent sightings that didn’t appear and this probably explains why. A note on the spreadsheet explaining that unusual dates, times, places will be recorded will be helpful though.

    Anyway I see Water Rail qualifies! It was just past the little viewing platform that’s by the lane on the Coate side and showed well – for a Water Rail at least as in 5 seconds it was gone.

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