Thursday, December 31, 2020

15.0 - Flickr Album imports, "Times sighted" reporting, and more

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 imports.)

Flickr Album imports

Scythebill now supports importing sightings from Flickr Albums, providing a great way for photographers to bootstrap their Scythebill databases.  It looks for bird names (or mammal names, or any other taxonomy) in the description and title of the photo.

Some recommendations and limitations:
  • 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.
This is a bit new and experimental, and I'm very curious how well it works for all of you Flickr users!

Reporting improvements - "Times sighted" and "Pacific Ocean (ABA)"

You can now generate reports that pick species by how many times they've been sighted.  So if you're curious, say, how many birds you've seen in 2020 exactly once, or in California more than 100 times, or anything of that sort, use the new "Times sighted" option in Show reports.

There's also a "Pacific Ocean (ABA)" reporting region you can use.  There's a few locations that the ABA considers part of the Pacific Ocean region that Scythebill puts in Australasia - most notably New Zealand, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands.  This made Australasian users happy, but meant anyone reporting listing totals to the ABA had their numbers off.

Other import improvements

Imports using the pre-split name of a now-split bird ("Black-chinned Laughingthrush") won't arbitrarily pick one species from the list, but will correctly generate "spuh" records of all the plausible forms for the location.

Importing from eBird "MyData" files now uses "ML Catalog" entries (Macaulay Library) to automatically link to photos you've uploaded to eBird.

Scythebill now supports importing from the "new" website's exports.

Importing from HBW Alive exports should be much more successful now.  In particular, Scythebill should be able to read XSLX files from HBW.

Wings imports have had a few rough edges polished.  It gives better error messages when locations are missing from the import files, and avoids mapping custom user modifications to the Wings taxonomy to the wrong bird.

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.

Bugs fixed

  • 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.

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