eBird users:  June Newman asks, where did her Trumpeter Swan observation go when she used the "explore data tab" to look for her sighting of 35 Trumpeter Swans at Swan Lake and comments that it is not an unexpected sighting. As Ryan already replied, a review species in ebird (one that needs additional information when entered into eBird) has to be approved first by an eBird reviewer before it will show up in the public data using the explore data tab. In the case of Missouri, Ryan Douglas and I are the eBird reviewers.  We are usually pretty quick to review these sightings, but sometimes we have 'other' things to do and sightings might sit a while before reviewed.  

Jean is 100% correct in her comments that 35 Trumpeter Swans is not an unexpected sighting......that is, in 2015.....  Let's not forget that 35 Trumpeter Swans was not always a 'regular' sighting, and it is a relatively recent change.  The re-introduction efforts of Trumpeter Swans in the states north of Missouri have been incredibly successful.  As a result, Trumpeter Swans have exploded across Missouri as winter residents.  I just did a search for the Trumpeter Swan high count in 2001 for Missouri - Interestingly the highest tally that entire season, reported by Dave Rogles, was 32 on 13 Jan. at Riverlands.  Since then numbers have almost doubled each consecutive season at Riverlands, with the population this winter at an estimated 1000!  I'm pretty sure Dave's sighting of 1000 would have been flagged by eBird in 2001.  

In regards to why a sighting of 35 Trumpeter Swans is reviewable as a high count at Swan Lake?  Missouri is broken up into 20 filters that eBird data passes through.  These filters are set by Ryan and I.  Sometimes we Ryan and I set these filters wrong, and we appreciate observers letting us know when they find these errors.  But in the case of June's swans - well, sometimes, these filters simply do not receive enough attention for Ryan and I to know they need to be adjusted for said species.  That seems to be the case with these swans; since 2013 there have only been 15 entries made for Trumpeter Swan in Chariton County (home of Swan Lake), and only 2 of those were higher than the amount allowed by the filter.  There had never been a sighting prior 2013 that even came close to approaching 35 swans.  Regardless, I have adjusted the filter to allow for up to 100 now in Chariton County, the home of Swan Lake.

Adjusting these filters for rare species and high counts can be a challenging balance for Ryan and I.  We certainly do not want to review high counts simply to review high counts. But at the same time we need to ensure the high counts being entered are being accurately recorded by observers.  So, to all eBird users, if you are not already, I encourage you all to use the comments box to enter this additional information when entering a high count to help us understand how you arrived at your total....  example.  "counted birds 1 by 1, counted by 100's, etc.".  When observers do not enter anything in the box, Ryan and I do not know if number entered in this box (or species checked) was entered in error or not.  

As always, if you have any questions regarding eBird, I'm happy to help,

Joshua Uffman
St. Louis County, MO
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Missouri Bird Records:

On Sat, 1/24/15, June Newman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

 Subject: eBird question
 To: [log in to unmask]
 Date: Saturday, January 24, 2015, 3:31 PM
 Today I visited Swan
 Lake NWR and entered my list, which included 35 Trumpeter
 Swans, into eBird.  The other species show up, but not the
 swans.  They show up on my personal list, but not if I use
 "explore data,"  so I know that I did submit
 them.  Where did they go?  It's not an unexpected
 sighting, so I can't imagine they were filtered
 June NewmanCarroll County
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