Note: Scythebill 15.3.1 was released on July 19th, and fixes how the IOC White-spotted and Streak-headed Mannikins are handled.
Thursday, July 15, 2021
Saturday, April 24, 2021
Scythebill 15.2.0 is now available, with many improvements across the application, including BirdTrack support and several browsing and import improvements. As always, download here, and let me know if you have any problems, either on Facebook or by email.
Update: 15.2.1 was released on April 26 with two bug fixes - one for eBird MyData imports containing records from "January 1, 1900" (which eBird uses for dateless records), and a second for correctly setting the "Photographed" field when adding photos in one missing case.
15.2.3 was released on May 22 with some substantial improvements to Ornitho imports and a fix for eBird "domestic" taxa not always importing correctly.
15.2.4 included a number of small fixes, most importantly one that could cause Scythebill to freeze during sighting editing. More fixes are noted below.
Other import improvements
Reconcile "sp's" against checklists
- Scythebill is now "signed" on Windows. For now, this won't change much - though when Windows gives you warnings about an "unrecognized app", you'll see my name as the publisher. But as people install and use Scythebill, the installation warning will eventually disappear.
- When using Enter sightings, the "New for" column will also tell you if you have new species for your "year" list (though only for your world year list - if you're tracking multiple year lists, this doesn't quite do what you need).
- The BOU names for the IOC taxonomy are updated for some recent changes, most but not all of which align better with widespread non-British usage (for example, Greater and Lesser Canada Goose are now just Canada and Cackling Goose).
- Scythebill automatically uses its checklists to simplify data entry when you're typing abbreviated species names. It now prioritizes regular species over rarities - for example, the first "D" in England is now Dartford Warbler and not Dark-eyed Junco.
- There is now a new preference to let you choose the language for Scythebill. If you don't want to use the system language, you can explicitly choose from English, German, or Spanish.
- As always, a bevy of recent first records are incorporated into the checklists. The rarity list is fixed for Oregon and British Columbia, and the Armenia checklist is much improved.
- 15.2.4: the menu showing locations in "Search nearby" now is wide enough on Windows to show very long location names (common in eBird).
- When entering sightings, if you quit Scythebill or asked to import sightings before clicking "Done", you'd lose your work! You now get a warning, and you can also use "Save" in the file menu during species entry to immediately save without leaving.
- Some of the keyboard shortcuts when entering sightings - like "H" to toggle on Heard Only - would not always get saved
- When entering sightings and moving to or from the IOC taxonomy, the table might not correctly display species counts and other information. (The data was always present.)
- The IUCN Redlist status for endangered species wouldn't appear in "Browse by species" if the species only had a scientific name. This just affected extended taxonomies.
- An error dialog that sometimes appeared on MacOS when plugging in or plugging monitors should no longer appear.
- 15.2.4: Flickr imports and "copy-and-paste auto-magic" checklists would fail to find species when their name was followed by a single-letter word.
- 15.2.4: the Family report output would appear as one line on Windows.
- 15.2.4: it's now possible in Browse by location to cut and paste sightings between "visits" (to change the location or date or both)
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Scythebill 15.1 is now available, with the IOC 11.1 taxonomy, improvements to sp. and hybrid entry, and more. As always, download here, and let me know if you have any problems, either on Facebook or by email.
Better sp. and hybrid entryScythebill's always made it easy to entry "sp." and hybrids from the "Enter sightings" page, but it's always been much more annoying to correct a sighting after the fact.
Other changes and fixes
- Checklist spreadsheets created from Browse by location have supported a "Lifers in bold" option, which did the obvious thing. That option now does one more thing, which shows species that you haven't seen in that location in italics.
- Checklist spreadsheets in Browse by location no longer include not-yet-established (common escapee) species.
- The Flickr import did not work before creating a sightings file.
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Scythebill 15.0 is now available, with Flickr Album imports, "Times sighted" reporting, and much more. As always, download here, and let me know if you have any problems, either on Facebook or by email.
The next version should arrive with the IOC 11.0 update, probably in January 2021.
(Scythebill 15.0.2 was released almost immediately with a fix for first-time users, and Scythebill 15.0.3 was released on January 4, 2021, with some Flickr import improvements and a fix for Waarnemening.be imports.)
Flickr Album imports
- It only supports albums - it can't import an entire photostream, for example.
- It only supports public albums - you can't import private data. You can flip the album to public for the import and right back to private if needed.
- It does a better job if you can give it one location - say, a country - for the import. If you have albums spanning multiple countries, it'll do OK, but for best results use albums organized per-country.
- Obviously, photos with no title or description cannot import.
Reporting improvements - "Times sighted" and "Pacific Ocean (ABA)"
Other import improvements
Small new features
- There's a new "Find checklist rarities..." menu item in the File menu. It can find any species you've seen that are considered rarities on the Scythebill checklists. This can just give you a happy memory, but it can also be a sign of identification or import mistakes, or a problem with the Scythebill checklists.
- The IUCN Red List 2020 updates are now included.
- Scythebill now includes checklists for the five "High Seas" regions. Can't say they're perfect (no one officially tracks these as best I can find), but they should be helpful on the rare occasions one is on a boat far, far from land.
- Scythebill includes new eBird/Clements name translations for the Arabic, Azerbaijani, Basque, Gallician, Korean, Lithuanian, Romanian, Slovakian, and Slovenian languages.
- The Isle of Man, Guernsey, and Jersey are no longer incorrectly included in the United Kingdom. (They are Crown dependencies instead.)
- The checklists are, as always, updated - in particular, I did another annual pass comparing all of Scythebill's checklists with eBird records, uncovering a lot of new entries.
- The Range Summary dialog used when resolving splits or choosing subspecies now works correctly in multi-monitor setups.
- An error dialog that sometimes popped up when switching taxonomies on the Show reports page should be fixed
- When entering the second half of a "spuh" or hybrid, alternate names are now available in the species chooser.
Sunday, July 19, 2020
Reptiles of the World
Small changes and bug fixes
- In Enter sightings, the species information table is now below the species list instead of above it. This makes it easier to see species range information when choosing species.
- Importing from eBird with the "English (BOU)" name preferences selected had issues with some names containing the "Grey" spelling. This is resolved.
- With the IOC BOU English names, the auto-complete dropdown menu had some weird display issues with subspecies names.
- The "Oriental region" list did not include sightings that were in Asian Indonesia but not in one of the built-in states.
- Exporting in Scythebill CSV format sometimes included unwanted records when using the "Never" report option.
Thursday, May 7, 2020
This is a small update, with two new features:
- There's a new "Oriental region" option in reporting - you can choose it as a location name. It follows the Oriental Bird Club's region as best it can. It is a bit off in two specific geographic regions. First, it includes all of Indonesia's Maluku region - but the Aru Islands are not part of the Oriental region. Second, it includes all Russian districts that are at all east of 90° longitude, when technically those portions west of 90° should not be.
- There's a new "Signs only" sighting status option, which you can use for times when you've observed signs of a species - an abandoned nest, footprints, mammal spoor - without seeing the species itself. Such sightings are not countable.
- HBW Alive imports are now much more accurate, just in time for HBW Alive to shut down ... (The site is closing on May 11th.)
- Saved reports that used "Or" or "Never" on the first row wouldn't restore properly - they'd show as "And".
- Some Linux users were seeing "File has been modified!" warnings very shortly after saving. These should (hopefully) be resolved.
Sunday, April 12, 2020
Scythebill now uses the latest eBird breeding bird codes. Most interestingly, "Singing male" is now "Singing bird" - did you know that in most songbird species, females sing too? Also, there's new "Used nest" and "Wren/woodpecker nest building" codes..
Scythebill had a bad habit of importing some eBird groups as "spuhs" - when the scientific name of the group listed two subspecies (like "Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) - Junco hyemalis hyemalis/carolinensis"). This is fixed.
Scythebill also now gives a much better error message when it gets a "MyEBirdData" import where the dates are formatted strangely. This most often happens when users edit this CSV file in Excel. As a reminder, you can always import an entire MyEBirdData file into Scythebill, and Scythebill will automatically exclude the already-imported sightings.
Finally, Scythebill Life List imports were largely failing, starting in 14.8.2.