Initial Review: E-Butterfly

Central Winds Park
Spicebush Swallowtail
Central Winds Park
I just discovered a new website that I think is pretty wonderful.  It's the butterfly equivalent of eBird, called e-butterfly.org (don't forget the dash). This site lets you enter your butterfly sightings, keep track of your life list, and see what else has been seen near you.  The site seems self-consciously patterned after eBird, so if you use eBird, learning this site should be pretty easy.  This site is brand new, so there's still a few kinks to be worked out, and there appear to be very few users of the site, especially in Florida.  I'm a novice at butterflies, and for the most part I only record butterflies I photograph while birding.  I'm still currently ranked third in the State of Florida for sightings in 2014 out of nine others.  You get the picture. However, my guess is that this site will take off just like eBird has, and when it does, it will be an even more valuable resource for birders and butterfliers.

Central Winds Park
Hackberry Emperor
Central Winds Park
Compared to eBird, there are a few differences in the way they organized the site, and most of them I like. You can upload photos from your hard drive (though you can't link to them on your photo-hosting site, a real downer), and your photos nicely show up with your sighting.  You can see a list of sightings independent of your checklists (nice!), and you can also tell e-butterfly your confidence level in your ID.  This is great for me, since I'm a novice at butterflies.  Duskywing Skippers, for instance, give me real trouble. Editing your checklists seems cumbersome at first.  I'm used to clicking on a checklist to edit it, and then be able to add and delete sightings.  With e-butterfly, you can view your checklist and delete sightings, and you can edit your checklist to add photos, change confidence level, etc. But to add a species to your checklist, you have have to click a different link.  This seems odd, but once you get used to it, it's no big deal.

Central Winds Park
Horace's Duskiwing Skipper
Central Winds Park
I like a lot of the features in e-butterfly, but I still think overall it takes longer for me complete a checklist than it does in ebird.  That might be because I've probably entered 1000 checklists into eBird, so the differences in e-butterfly seem awkward to me.  However, there is one real problem in e-butterfly.  When you type in a species name, the site will show you a list of species that match what you type, but you can't just click on a matching species. You have to hit the search button (sometimes twice) before it will take you to the species you typed in.  This seems unnecessary and odd, and I bet in the future this will change.

Marl Bed Flats
Ceraunus Blue
Marl Bed Flats
All in all, I'm really happy with it.  I even went out to Central Winds Park yesterday and walked directly to the butterfly garden and spent most of my time there; I only spent 15 minutes birding!  I just wanted to work on a checklist for e-butterfly and see if I could find a few new ones.

Marl Bed Flats
Carolina Satyr
Marl Bed Flats
I still dream of a day when there will be a site that will let you log all your sightings of all species on one site (birds, reptiles, mammals, insects, etc).  Maybe that day will come.  We can hope.

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