Recently I've put some effort into sorting out my bird records, a task long overdue!! Unfortunately I lost all my records previous to 2001, except for an odd foreign trip, so I've had an opportunity to begin things anew. Having promised myself that, with these "new" records, I'd be disciplined and utterly diligent, I've now begun to bring the various systems I've decided upon into practice. And having promised myself that I'd "get around to computerizing everything one day" I've actually now begun that task as well.
Nowadays I keep a Field Logbook cum diary and enter daily sightings into " Bird Journal", which takes care of the more immediate end of the process. As far as lists go I rely on BuBo (BuBo Listing ) , indeed you'll notice I've recently installed a widget on this Blog which gives details of my current totals in BuBo for my World List and Western Palaearctic list. As yet these more reflect how much I've devoted time to entering records than to their totals as it's very much a "work in progress" task and one which will see the totals increase dramatically as particular trips are added. Having seen in excess of 150 species already this calendar year I've also now decided to reinforce this within the blog by indicating the total reached when mentioning any new year list species for 2013. So, for example, Harlequin Duck ( remember it's only an example! ) will be followed by ( 152, 2013 ). But moving to BuBo..........
BuBo was created, and is maintained, by Andy Musgrove and Mike Prince. The potential it offers birders to maintain lists of their sightings is enormous and I believe we owe both of them a huge debt of gratitude for the time and dedication they make available. The use of the site is free, but contributions are clearly welcome as this allows even greater developments to be added to the site's facility overall. As such provision is made to create, store,compare and print off as many lists as you wish to maintain and much, much more. You can commit records to more than one list as you're entering items, see who else has seen what, determine how many species you might have seen in a particular Continent, determine what your "target species" might be within the current year and so on. The facilities appear endless and more you use the site, the more you appreciate its value. Most importantly, new taxonomic changes are incorporated soon after they are revealed by the various authorities and the necessary changes made to country lists. Added to all this is a patient and thorough "back up" system provided by the above two organizers for any queries which might arise as well as a Forum facility being available. It's something we all should support given its thorough provision of detail, but , above all else, it's actually a great system to use and it's FUN!! So take a look at it, try it and enjoy!
Despite all my enthusiasm for the above I don't think I'll ever discard my Clements book with its dutifully marked up little species boxes! It's not quite an ornithological comfort blanket but I do gather a lot of inspiration and motivation from simply looking through it. It's not a question of realising what I've seen, as I'm not into competitive birding, but realising how many great birds there are still to see and the exotic places they inhabit. Childlike wonder? Maybe, but I don't care as I continue to gain as much enjoyment from seeing birds and other wildlife as I've ever done.