Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Scythebill 16.4 - "New for" column in checklist spreadsheets and more

Scythebill 16.4 is now available!  There's a "New for" column in checklist spreadsheets, a number of small import improvements, and other small fixes.   As always, download here, and let me know if you have any problems, either on Facebook or by email.

Update: Scythebill 16.4.1 was released on June 2nd, with bug fixes to import handling of timestamps and new locations (especially affecting BirdLasser).

"New for" column for location checklist spreadsheets

The last release of Scythebill added an option for a "Lifer?" column when you save a location checklist as a spreadsheet.  This release replaces it with a much more useful "New for" column, telling you not just if that checklist species would be new for you but how - whether it's new for your world list, the country (or state), or even if it'd be new for your world Photographed list (the latter only appears if you ever attach photos to sightings).

Import improvements

The summary of "New for" species when importing sightings should be both less confusing and not require resizing to be visible.  (Before, for example, if you had world lifers and new species for a site in one import, the lifers wouldn't show up as new for the site;  they will now.)

BirdLasser, BirdTrack, and Wildlife Recorder imports sometimes require you to choose a location for imported sightings off of a latitude and longitude.  Scythebill should now be much better at making that process less painful - countries will be filled in far more often, the "existing location" drop-down menu is sorted by closest location in KM, and it's generally smarter at guessing whether the new sightings should require a new location or can use an existing location.

Scythebill-format imports now optionally support a Genus/Species column, as well as an "End time" column.  Both of these are useful for importing from custom software - if some software exports genus and species names separately, rather than joined to a scientific name, you don't have to combine those columns before importing.  Similarly, you can supply an "End time" instead of a Duration, and Scythebill will calculate the Duration for you.

Scythebill now automatically supports imports for "Lawrence's", "Brewster's", and "Sutton's" Warblers - a few North American hybrids which might appear in eBird exports with those names.

Finally, BirdBase imports now properly handle imports from Newfoundland and the Northwest Territories.

Other fixes

  • If you "remember" a report from Show reports which used the "Times sighted" option, it'll now show the correct number on the home screen.
  • Gibraltar is no longer considered part of the UK for the Total Ticks "Country" report.  (I don't think any British birders consider Gibraltar sightings as part of their personal British list, but let me know if I've gotten that wrong!)
  • You can now export "list-building imports" for eBird.  These are described on the eBird site, but briefly, they let you include sightings which don't have an exact day.  They'll be imported into eBird with the date January 1, 1900 and a visit comment of "life-list building checklist".  These sightings will be included on your life list in eBird, but won't be publicly visible or used as data on eBird.
  • Exporting data for eBird might create files which couldn't be imported, with an error message like "Observation time is required for protocol...";  these shouldn't appear anymore.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Scythebill 16.3 - easier editing of existing visits

Scythebill 16.3 is now available!  It adds several small improvements and refinements; in particular, it's much easier to edit existing sightings. As always, download here, and let me know if you have any problems, either on Facebook or by email.

Editing existing sightings

Entering new sightings is easy, but getting back to the "Edit sightings" screen - to edit all the sightings from that visit - has always been a lot more difficult than it should be.  There was one way, buried deep in "Browse by location", but it was hard to find.

Now, it's easy: any time you select a sighting, whether in "Browse by species", "Browse by location", or even "Show reports", you'll see a new Visit sightings... button.  Click that, and you'll be taken to the "Edit sightings" screen with a list of all the sightings from that same visit.

Location checklist spreadsheet improvements

When you save a location checklist as a spreadsheet, there's two new options:
  • First, you can turn off including family names, which can make your spreadsheet much shorter.
  • Second, you can add a column for whether a species is a lifer.  Previously, the only option was marking the species name in bold, which was hard on those of you who like to write spreadsheet formulas.

BirdLasser import improvements

Scythebill now supports BirdLasser users who use scientific names as something other than the "Tertiary" name.

Scythebill also had a bug that could lead to some species being dropped from BirdLasser imports.  This would only happen in cases where the "ISO Date" column - which has date/time down to the millisecond! - had multiple species with the exact same value.

Small fixes

  • In some very odd cases, US states whose two-letter abbreviation matches a country's two-letter abbreviation might display as that country.  (For example, Pennsylvania would appear as Panama!)
  • State/province lists are updated for a few countries, to match updated eBird treatment.  The only really significant changes were for France, which changed from 22 regions to 13.  (Scythebill will automatically rearrange your records to match.)

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Scythebill 16.2 - small improvements and refinements

Scythebill 16.2 is now available!  It adds several small improvements and refinements.  There's also a number of new   As always, download here, and let me know if you have any problems, either on Facebook or by email.

Update: Scythebill 16.2.1 was released with bug fixes and small new features - see below.

Update 2: Scythebill 16.2.2 was released with one bug fix - 16.2.1 broke the "New for" column in Enter sightings for everyone not using multiple observers.

16.2.1: New for an observer

If you've enabled multiple observers, Scythebill will now tell you if that sighting is a lifer for just one of the observers.  You'll still see "World" if it's new for all of the observers, but if it's just new for one or more of them, their abbreviation or abbreviations will appear.

16.2.1: Another way to create trip reports

You can now select multiple "visits" in Browse by location and create a trip report from those visits.

New for "Photographed"

When entering sightings, if a species was photographed for the first time ever in your list, Scythebill will tell you that in the "New for" column.  This is really handy for those of you who care about your list of photographed species. (A fix in 16.2.1: this feature now works if you drop pictures directly onto the camera icon.)

Hybrids and sp's of eBird groups or IOC subspecies

I got pretty annoyed with myself recently when I had an intergrade "Red-shafted"/"Yellow-shafted" Northern Flicker in my backyard - and no way to enter it!  Scythebill now lets you create a sp. or hybrid of these eBird groups or IOC subspecies.

New spreadsheet option - "Omit sp./hybrid sightings?"

When you save a report as a spreadsheet, you now have a new "Omit sp./hybrid sightings?" option.  This will automatically remove any Sp. or hybrid sightings.  This option is particularly useful if you output a spreadsheet sorted by date, which is great for seeing what your 100th species for your patch or 1000th bird for your life list, without having the numbering confused by sp's and hybrids.

Fast access to location maps

You can now click the place-marker icon which shows up for any location with latitude and longitude coordinates, and it'll take you right to Google Maps.  Even better, that icon now shows up in any sighting editing part of Scythebill.  (Let me know if it'd be helpful to add support for other map providers, like OpenStreetMap, Bing, etc.)

Better Wildlife Recorder imports

Wildlife Recorder imports are now much improved.  In particular, if you export a second CSV file with locations, you'll have vastly less work to do on imports.  Also, Scythebill no longer assumes you're using UK-formatted dates

Other fixes

  • Some MacOS users with Sonoma (not me!) had reported problems with Save dialogs not showing up when they tried to save reports or country checklists as spreadsheets.  I've made a tweak which might help, though I'll admit the underlying problem is still opaque to me.
  • The "Total Ticks" report had problems handling mutli-continent countries, like the US, Indonesia, and Russia.
  • A very long-standing bug with an error message "IndexOutOfBoundsException: bitIndex < 0"  is hopefully fixed.
  • An error that some users saw when changing observers should be fixed.
  • Birder's Diary imports now are more tolerant of files using different encodings. (I think this will fix issues when using the latest version of Birder's Diary, but I also expect that most users will get better results asking Birder's Diary to create a file for eBird, then importing to Scythebill with that.)