Saturday, October 24, 2015

Scythebill 12.6 - IOC 5.4 and more

Scythebill 12.6 is here! As always, download here, and let me know if you have any problems, either on Google+Facebook, or by email.  

The highlight for the world taxonomy crowd will likely be the IOC 5.4 world list, released just a couple of days ago.  But there's more:

  • You can view species range maps with a single click.
  • Correcting the dates and locations of your visits is now much easier.
  • States now list their endemics - and multi-state generation has improved to go along with it.
  • There's new checklists for each of the seven main Indonesian regions, and one for the Åland Islands.
  • Some long-necessary cleanup for the Scythebill state and province lists has completed, most noticeably changing Ireland, the Philippines, and Sudan.

IOC 5.4

The new IOC 5.4 taxonomy is available, and Scythebill already supports it!   Taxonomic highlights include a swarm of kingfisher splits and a three-way Paradise Flycatcher split, but you can see the full list of changes on the IOC website.

Some smaller features

Scythebill now lets you view species range maps at a click.  When you see the word Range underlined - either entering species, or in Browse by taxon, click, and you'll get a map like this one, which not only show you the world range, country by country, but also let you zoom into regions of the world, and even the per-state maps in the United States, Canada, and Australia. (Look for the menu at the top-left of the map.)  These maps are limited - they only show distribution at the country (and sometimes state) level - but they do provide a very quick way to get a feel for a bird's range (and, sometimes, to spot mistakes in the Scythebill checklists).

When you select a single visit in Browse by location, you can now change the date and location of that visit right from that page without leaving it.

There's a new Save a copy as... menu item in the File menu, which will save a second copy of the Scythebill ".bsxm" file (especially useful for moving your list to a second machine or manually backing up).  Hopefully, this will make it a little clearer to users that "

State endemics

Scythebill has long identified the per-country endemics, but it now also identifies bird species that are globally endemic to a single state, like Yellow-billed Magpie in California or Rockwarbler in New South Wales, etc.

And the trivial multi-state-or-country checklist generation added in Scythebill 12.5 goes along for the ride.  So you can now even generate a checklist combining - for example - California and Mexico - and see the global endemics shared between them!

Indonesian improvements

Scythebill now has checklists for the seven main eBird regions of Indonesia:
  • Sumatera (Sumatra)
  • Jawa (Java, but not Bali)
  • Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo)
  • Nusa Tenggara (Bali and the Lesser Sundas)
  • Maluku (Moluccas, including Wetar and the Aru Islands)
  • Papua (the Indonesian half of New Guinea)
  • Sulawesi
Geolocation was also slightly tweaked so that Google-identified locations now will map to these regions.

Checklist improvements

  • As mentioned above, there's now checklists for each of the Indonesian states
  • There's also a new checklist for the Åland Islands.
  • I've done a lot of cleanup for the US state checklists.
  • The range of Caspian Gull had not followed taxonomic changes - it's now a monotypic form, with "barabensis" moved to Lesser Black-backed Gull, and "mongolicus" moved to Vega Gull (Herring Gull in eBird/Clements).  It's now changed accordingly - I'd recommend checking your records!
  • Abdel B. contributed some improvements for Tunisia and Hong Kong.

State and province cleanup

Scythebill tries to hold to the eBird location organization.  (It's fairly close to the standard ISO-3166 arrangement, for those who care about such details.)  But it's missed some of the changes made in the last few years.  In most cases, these were trivial (some simple name changes), but there were a few major issues that would have made eBird importing difficult.
  • eBird no longer uses the 26 counties of Ireland as "states", instead using the 4 Irish provinces.  Scythebill now puts all of the above in its proper place, automatically.
  • Scythebill still had the out-of-date Sudanese states prior to the split-off of South Sudan.  Those who bravely bird this part of the world will be happy that Scythebill automatically moves sightings from the old Sudanese provinces into South Sudan where necessary.
  • eBird (and now Scythebill) use the 82 provinces of the Philippines instead of the 15 regions.
  • Scythebill now includes the 23 districts of the Seychelles, 7 districts of the Cayman Islands, 5 divisions of French Polynesia, and 4 municipalties of the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as multiple added regions of (deep breath now) Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Moldova, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Saint Lucia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Taiwan Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Vietnam, and Yemen.   (Phew.)
  • Scythebill had the wrong codes for the Yukon Territory of Canada and Maluku province of Indonesia, which would have made importing into eBird unnecessarily difficult.

Other fixes

  • BirdBase imports now correctly import species counts.
  • eBird "geocoding" (finding latitude/longitude based on a location name) was broken for location names with accents.  (eBird changed their API's encoding, Scythebill had to change to match.)
  • eBird "life list" CSV files with accented characters will now be correctly imported.