Sunday, July 23, 2023

Scythebill 15.9 - the IOC 13.2 taxonomy, Butterflies of the World taxonomy, and more

Scythebill 15.9 is now available!  Its main feature is the new IOC 13.1 taxonomy, but it also includes a number of smaller improvements.  As always, download here, and let me know if you have any problems, either on Facebook or by email.

IOC 13.2 taxonomy

IOC 13.2 is just released, and is already supported by Scythebill.  It's got 42 splits and 21 lumps - to see which affect you, visit the Splits and lumps special report.  (This report shows what has changed from one older taxonomy to today's taxonomy - so for just the changes in 13.2, you want to look at what's changed since 13.1)

My "splits and lumps" report;  only net plus-two, alas!

Butterflies of the World taxonomy

There is also a brand new Butterflies of the World taxonomy!  It's a separate download, but it does take advantage of some newly added features (see below).  And you may have missed it, but there's also Reptiles of the World and Odonates of the World released back in March, and there's also new updates for both of these taxonomies today.

If you want to upgrade from one of the older butterfly taxonomies covering just part of the world, it's a few quick steps:
  1. Switch to the older taxonomy.
  2. From "Show reports", use "Export sightings..." and " Scythebill CSV".
  3. Switch to the newer taxonomy
  4. From Import, use "Import from Scythebill"
Once you're satisfied with the results, you can delete the old taxonomy altogether (which will delete all your records for the old taxonomy).

This taxonomy comes from iNaturalist data (also true of the Reptiles and Odonates of the World taxonomies).  That data is pretty good, but not as mature as the data for birds - both in taxonomy and in checklists, birds are in way better shape.  If you find issues with these taxonomies, and you have access to quality, modern data, you can visit the iNaturalist site and make adjustments.

If it's a problem with the underlying taxonomy, you can add a "flag" to a taxon to get a curator to look at it.   If it's a problem with the checklists, you can add species to a country's checklist directly.  But, in any case, please only do so if you have some expertise or access to up-to-date resources.  (For example, "I've got a 2001 field guide" might not be a good enough resource by itself, as taxonomy in these areas changes quite a lot.)

Species account links

In both the eBird/Clements and the Butterflies, Odonates, and Reptiles of the World taxonomies, when you select a species in "Browse by species" and other parts of Scythebill, you'll see a new link - "eBird page" or "iNaturalist page".  These links will open up a browser on the associated pages, letting you quickly learn more about each species.

New "eBird page" link!

Range and lifer maps for extended taxonomies

For "extended taxonomies" which include checklists - like the new Butterflies of the World checklist, or many of the other recently released world taxonomies - you can now click Range links and get a world map.  You can also use the "World lifers map" to see where you might have the most possible targets.

And you thought Brazil had a lot of birds...  there's over 2,500 butterflies!

Fixing photo directories in bulk

Previously, if you moved photos from one directory to another, you'd have to click each one to point Scythebill at the new location.  This was tedious, to say the least!

Now, if you fix one photo, Scythebill will see if it can find an analogous change to apply to the rest of your photos to fix them all at once.

Other changes

There's two new sighting statuses: "Better view desired" and "Unsatisfactory views".  "Better view desired" is always countable, "Unsatisfactory views" is not.  It is entirely your choice which of these statuses you want to use (or if you want to use them at all!)

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Scythebill 15.8: the IOC 13.1 taxonomy, and lots of other improvements

Scythebill 15.8 is now available!  Its main feature is the new IOC 13.1 taxonomy, but it also includes a number of smaller improvements.  As always, download here, and let me know if you have any problems, either on Facebook or by email.

Important! Scythebill now has an email list - you can join online at

Scythebill 15.8.1 was released on March 4: it fixes eBird imports from the "year list" and "life list" pages, adds support for 11 new IOC languages, and some other small improvements.

IOC 13.1

IOC 13.1 is just released, and is already supported by Scythebill.  It's got 43 splits and 12 lumps - to see which affect you, visit the Splits and lumps special report.  (This report shows what has changed from one older taxonomy to today's taxonomy - so for just the splits here, you want to look at what's changed since 12.2)

Import improvements

BirdLasser imports should be working again - the column header names changed.

eBird checklist imports will now automatically try to fetch the county for your sighting.  It can only do so for hotspots, not private locations.

eBird imports to Scythebill will automatically drop entries like "gull sp." (not supported by Scythebill), and tell you how many such entries were dropped.  Scythebill also lets you automatically trim "My Data" eBird imports to just new dates.  These two features did not play well together!  They do now.

Data entry improvements

After entering a species, earlier versions of Scythebill would let you change a single-species sighting to a "sp." or a hybrid, and let you change "sp." sightings back to single species.  You can now make any change among these options - hybrid back to single species, "sp." to hybrid, and hybrid to sp.

Browse by location now supports a Remove sighting... button.  (This is actually a bug fix, not a new feature - this button accidentally disappeared a couple of years ago.)

Total ticks improvements

The total ticks report is now much less spartan.  Instead of just presenting you with a total number and putting all the details in the spreadsheet, you now get a sorted list of all the locations and their totals, and you can browse species lists (and even edit!).

Extended taxonomy improvements

Extended taxonomies added support for per-country checklists in 15.5.0.  This has been enhanced to support per-country status (introduced, escapee, rarity, and extinct).  There aren't yet any taxonomies that take advantage of this feature, but I needed to support it in Scythebill first!

Extended taxonomy country checklists also now support Indonesia and Russia.

Other improvements

  • The "Reconcile sp.'s automatically..." menu item now lets you - optionally - take advantage of rarity information.  For example, a Whimbrel (in the eBird taxonomy) that you saw in California could be a Eurasian Whimbrel (in the IOC taxonomy), but that'd be a rarity.  It's much more likely that it was a Hudsonian Whimbrel. 
  • Scythebill's a bit better at handling backups to Cloud storage - in particular, re-trying automatically (and quietly) when your Cloud storage isn't available at the moment.
  • The World Lifers map now honors your countability preferences (so, for instance, if you don't count introduced birds, it won't include those in its count of possible lifers).
  • I've added Greek, Ecuadorian and Peruvian Spanish, Albanian, Armenian, Persian, and Marathi as eBird/Clements international names.
  • Sri Lanka, Oman, and Russia have updated lists of "states".
  • The second IUCN 2022 Redlist updates have been incorporated.
  • The Big Day special report summary should now look better on Linux.
  • As always, a variety of first country and state records are included in the checklists.