After 3 years and about 2500 posts the Rare Bird Alert (RBA) portion of The Near Georgia Report is now in retirement for states and locations outside of Georgia.
The site will remain open and the Sidebar and Pages 1-10 (Georgia Birding Information and Resources) content will continue to be updated and expanded. Eventually a new website or blog, with a new form factor, may be built for them (and other new sections as well):
Cable-Tie Sight Guide, Georgia RUFF and STKI Watches,
General and Regional Information,
Georgia Birding on My Mind,
Seawatching, Pelagics, Tides/Marine Forecasts,
Weather, Navigation and GPS,
Field Guides, References, Books,
Birding by Ear, and Tech,
Optics, Videos, and Phonescoping
Among the factors contributing to me considering and taking this course there is one that stands out: eBird!!! (what follows here is well known to dedicated eBirders!)
Besides much overall enthusiasm and love for the reporting of the rare, casual, and accidental birds in the region, one reason that I started The Near Georgia Report in 2009 was that I knew that many, many great birds that were being reported on the birding listservs and email groups in the near Georgia region were not being posted to eBird, and that I could provide a service to Georgia birders and others (and myself) who were interested in learning more about them by tracking them all down as possible and posting them all in one place.
That is no longer the case! Currently in 2012, and commensurate with the huge growth of both the use of eBird by birders, and the further refinement and enhancement of the technical power and ability of eBird to manage and present bird sighting data to birders in the past several years, I feel that virtually every rare, casual, and accidental bird of significance found in the 7 southeasternmost states that The Near Georgia Report has covered is now posted to eBird in a fairly timely manner. I am sure that there are still some great birds which are only posted to listservs and birding email groups but I think that these are now more the rarer exception rather than the rule.
Most birders that find and/or chase rare, casual, and accidental birds are very serious and successful in the effort, there is a good number of them out there, and most of them are very serious also in reporting these birds to eBird in a timely manner. So things continue to evolve.
Now, with enhanced eBird Alerts, notifications of reports of all of the rare, casual, and accidental species sightings that many of us are interested in can be made to us hourly or daily on smartphones or to our computers. This is a very fast, easy, efficient, and comprehensive way to learn of the great birds in our region. This way there are hundreds, if not thousands, of reporters contributing and distributing reports, many actually in real time, and most at least same day, to us all if we desire it! An amazing resource and tool indeed!
Setting up and managing these notifications is fast and easy with eBird:
1. Register and become an eBird user at ebird.org
2. Once in eBird go to My eBird
3. Go to Manage My Alerts
4. Subscribe to the ABA Rarities alert (Email alerts for observations of rare birds, ABA code 3 and above, for the entire ABA Area) as desired.
5. Subscribe to additional Rare Bird Alerts (Email alerts for rare birds in a particular area, which you specify) as desired.
You can then set these alerts to notify you hourly or daily.
For example my eBird alerts for the ABA Area and the near Georgia region are set as follows:
ABA Rarities - Daily
Rare Birds - Alabama, Daily
Rare Birds - Florida, Daily
Rare Birds - Georgia, Hourly
Rare Birds - Mississippi, Daily
Rare Birds - North Carolina, Daily
Rare Birds - South Carolina, Daily
Rare Birds - Tennessee, Daily
I would strongly encourage all birders who are interested in keeping up with reports of rare, casual, and accidental species sightings in our region, or any region, in the best way possible to register as a user with eBird, and set up and use eBird's rare bird alerts in order to obtain the latest notifications regarding rare bird reports!
Thanks to All for your reading and support of the RBA at The Near Georgia Report over the past 3 years!
Hopefully mandatory RBA Blogger Rehab won't be too lengthy, withdrawal too severe, and relapses few and far between!
Good Near Georgia Birding!