Saturday, August 17, 2019

Scythebill 14.7 - eBird/Clements update, German, and more

Update: Scythebill 14.7.1 was released on August 28, 2019.  Most importantly, it fixes a bug that broke all "save as spreadsheet" features.  It's also got some small improvements to checklists and the new German translation.

Original post: Scythebill 14.7.0 is now available, with the brand-new eBird/Clements 2019 taxonomy, translation into German, continent checklists, "tick" maps, and more.  As always, download here, and let me know if you have any problems, either on Facebook or by email

eBird/Clements 2019 taxonomy

This taxonomy was released two days ago, and it's a big one with more than 80 splits (some of them into as many as six ways, and 12 lumps.  Do you love White-eyes?  If you do, you'll love this update!  (If you've been using the IOC taxonomy, many of these will be old news to you - but it's excellent that these two taxonomies are now a fair bit closer.)

If you're interested in knowing more about what happened, I strongly recommend the (inherently lengthy) overview on the eBird website, especially if you need guidance with some of the more complicated changes (again, White-eyes!).   

As always, Scythebill will work hard to automate as much of the update as possible.  And when you've updated, visit Special reports, then Splits and lumps, to see just what happened.  (I got 17 armchair ticks, and lost one.)

German translation, and more Spanish translations

Scythebill is now available with a translation into German!  As is still the case with the Spanish translation, I need all the help I can get cleaning it up to use proper German.  If you speak German, and see anything off, please let me know.

Also, the Spanish translation is now more complete - in particular, there's translations for all the continent and country names, and a few pieces of text I'd missed in my previous efforts.

Continent and region checklists

Scythebill finally supports automatic checklists for each of its built-in regions (North America, West Indies, Pacific Ocean, Europe, etc.).  This means you can finally get answers to things like "what West Indies endemics have I seen?  which haven't I seen?".  These checklists work with the Family report too.

As a critical part of this, Scythebill now has separate checklists for European and Asian Russia, and Asian and Australasian Indonesia.

Country and state "tick" maps

The "Total ticks" special report has a new trick:  you can see color-coded maps of countries or states of the world, and how much you've seen in each place.  Just visit Special reports, then Total ticks, and click the new Total ticks map button.  Here's a country map (you can use a small menu at the upper-left to zoom in on various regions):

It's pretty clear that I need to spend a lot more time in Africa and Asia!

And if you switch from "Country" to "State" total ticks, and click that Total ticks map button again, you can look at your total ticks at the state level (switching between countries with that menu in the upper-left).  Here's Brazil:

I'd really love to visit ParanĂ¡ or Rio Grande do Sul!

Total tick maps are not supported for county ticks, unfortunately.  (They also don't show up for states in a few countries, like Kenya, Indonesia, or the UK).

Trip report improvements

There's a few subtle improvements in Trip Reports.
  • The itinerary is now much smarter about ordering and merging visits to the same location on consecutive days
  • The trip report title will now include the year (if all visits were in a single year)
  • Pasting the species table into a plain-text editor (one that doesn't support fancy styling) will now give you a nicely aligned table (at least with a monospace font like Courier)

"Wings" imports

Wings was birding software for MacOS (and perhaps Windows too?).  It's been defunct for some time, but Scythebill can now import directly from its exports. To prepare the exports from Wings, you'll need to do a series of exports, all in XML format:

  • All your sightings
  • ... and all seven kinds of locations (from Continent down to Station)
From there, go to Imports in Scythebill, choose Wings imports, and in the file chooser that opens, select all eight XML files that you produced in Wings.  (I wish Wings had chosen to support a simpler export format for its locations, but alas it did not!)

Smaller fixes

  • Scythebill will try to warn you when you've got the same file open (and are editing it) on two difference machines.  This should make it much safer to save Scythebill's .bsxm files in the cloud.
  • The Windows installer will now recommend that you quit Scythebill before it installs, which was always a good idea.
  • Macedonia and Swaziland are now listed as North Macedonia and eSwatini, respectively, matching their official names.
  • A long-standing bug in Browse by location has been fixed: editing a location name (at the bottom of the window) would drop latitude/longitude and location descriptions.
  • An occasional error message when dragging sightings between taxa has at last been tracked down, and a couple of other sometimes-reported error messages have been cleaned up.
  • The usual checklist updates have been made.  In addition, the 100-or-so most commonly reported "escaped" species from eBird have been added to checklists as escapees, meaning that when you enter those as sightings they'll automatically be considered uncountable.

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