Sunday, October 30, 2022

Scythebill 15.7.5 - eBird/Clements 2022 update is here!

Scythebill 15.7.5 is now available!  Its main feature is the new eBird/Clements 2022 taxonomy.  As always, download here, and let me know if you have any problems, either on Facebook or by email.

Update: 15.7.6 was released on November 9.  It includes a few small improvements, but the most notable change is improved country checklists.  In particular, I'd completely flipped the ranges of Black-faced Bunting and Masked Bunting in 15.7.5, so if Scythebill auto-resolved this split for you, it may have gotten it wrong. You can always use "Verify against checklists..." in the File menu to look for sightings that may have the wrong species.

eBird/Clements 2022

The 2022 update of the eBird/Clements taxonomy is finally here, and it's a big one, with 118 new species from splits (and 41 lumps).  If you're a North American birder, this introduces just the Chihuahuan Meadowlark.  But if you've spent much time birding in the neotropics or southeast Asia, there's a good chance you'll have a lot of armchair ticks awaiting you.

As always, Scythebill will automatically handle the upgrade as much as possible, and use its checklists to automate splits where possible.  When you're done with the upgrade, visit the Splits and Lumps "special report" to see what's changed since 2021.  (For me, I had a whopping 31 gained against just 2 lost.)

There's also been some species where subspecies have been rearranged - moved from one species to another - which may give you some work even if there isn't truly a split.  This year, examples include:
  • Golden-bellied and Golden-crowned Flycatchers
  • Black-throated and Green-breasted Mango
  • Sulawesi and Moluccan Scops-Owl
  • Tropical and Large Scrubwren

Other changes

Other changes in this are fairly minor:
  • I've added over 1300 alternate scientific names to both taxonomies, mostly reflecting changes in genera over the years.  This will help users with imports that only include scientific names.
  • Scythebill should give a better message to Windows users whose file permissions prevent Scythebill from being able to save.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Scythebill 15.7.4 - IOC 12.2 taxonomy is available

Scythebill 15.7.4 is now available!  Its main feature is the new IOC 12.2 taxonomy.  As always, download here, and let me know if you have any problems, either on Facebook or by email.

IOC 12.2 taxonomy

The IOC 12.2 taxonomy is just released.  It's a comparatively small update in terms of the total number of splits, but it does include the latest AOS changes (like Chihuahuan Meadowlark).  You can see the full list of splits and lumps on the IOC site, or you can visit the "Splits and Lumps" report after installing to see what changed with your list.

Note: If you've seen White-crowned or Mocking Cliff Chats - two African species - and have not assigned subspecies directly, you may have some slightly ugly results here, as subspecies were reassigned in both directions.

Other changes

Other changes in this release are relatively minor - it's been just six weeks since the last release.  But a few other changes are included:

  • I've done a full round of comparison between Scythebill's checklists and eBird, resulting in many checklist additions.
  • IUCN Redlist updates from 2021 and 2022 are now included.
  • A rare exception when editing subspecies from within "Show reports" is fixed.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Scythebill 15.7 - lat/long improvements and internal upgrades

Scythebill 15.7 is now available!  It's a smaller releases, with some internal upgrades, lat/long improvements, and a few small fixes.  As always, download here, and let me know if you have any problems, either on Facebook or by email.

15.7.1 was released on June 12th with a fix for MacOS only (writing CSVs failed)

15.7.2 was released on June 20th with a few more small fixes;  ABA region reports were broken in 15.7.0 for about half of users, and saving as a spreadsheet failed for MacOS.

15.7.3 was released on July 12th with several more fixes:

  • Non-US MacOS users saw incorrect date formats in some places.
  • The German translation is much improved, thanks to a recent contribution from M. Johanning.
  • Trip reports will now include sighting descriptions even when there are multiple locations for a single species.
  • BirdBase imports should do a far better job of handling descriptions that contain double-quote characters.
  • Observado imports now automatically distinguish between Luxembourg-the-country, and Luxembourg-the-province-of-Belgium.

Java upgrade

Scythebill runs on top of the Java platform.  You don't have to know that - it packages Java internally, so you don't need to install Java.  But it's been awhile since I've updated that internally packaged version, and I've jumped from Java 10 to Java 17.  What does this mean to most of you?  Nothing!  But - it does make me a bit more worried about compatibility problems and odd bugs than I am with most releases.  Please do let me know if you see anything going wrong - especially if you're running an older operating system.

Lat/long improvements

Scythebill is better at loading latitude and longitude for locations from Google's APIs.

Show reports now lets you generate reports within a number of miles or kilometers of another location.  A word of caution:  this only supports locations with latitude and longitude, and assumes that all sightings at that location have exactly that latitude and longitude.

To make this a bit easier, in Browse by location, Scythebill now shows a small green place-marker next to locations that have a latitude and longitude, to make it easier to find locations that should have one but don't.

Smaller fixes

  • Scythebill doesn't support eBird taxa like "Gull sp.", and drops those on import.  It now tells you that it's done so.
  • The IOC checklist substituted "South American" for the abbreviation "SA" more often than it should.  Specifically, SA often meant South Australia;  that mistaken substitution is now fixed.
  • BirdBrain imports that referenced state codes ("AZ" instead of Arizona) are now much better supported.
  • Renaming a location that had an attached custom checklist would inadvertently delete the checklist!
  • An error noticed by a few users after hitting the "Back" button from the "New Location" page during "Enter sightings" has been fixed.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Scythebill 15.6 - IOC 12.1, and a few refinements

Scythebill 15.6 is now available with the just-released IOC 12.1 and a number of small refinements.  As always, download here, and let me know if you have any problems, either on Facebook or by email. 

IOC 12.1

The IOC 12.1 taxonomy was just released.  It's a comparatively small one as far as splits and lumps go, with the majority in Asia and Australasia.  See that list of changes on the IOC site.

This new taxonomy does include, for the first time, bird name translations in Serbian and Turkish;  you can try these out from the Preferences page.

Other changes

Scythebill now offers a "Restrained" sighting status - for birds you see in-hand, or in a mistnet, or similar circumstances.  In North America, the American Birding Association's recording rules require that birds be unrestrained, and by default these sightings will not be considered "countable".  But you can go to the Preferences page and make them countable if you wish.

If you mistyped a year, you might accidentally enter a checklist from the distant past or far future (the years "202" or "2202").  Scythebill will now warn you before proceeding when you enter these years on Enter Sightings.

The "Big day/year" report now properly supports "First sighting" reports.  So you can go, year by year, and see which year (or even day) you had the most lifers.