Trans: Latin prefix implying "across" or "Beyond", often used in gender nonconforming situations – Scend: Archaic word describing a strong "surge" or "wave", originating with 15th century english sailors – Survival: 15th century english compound word describing an existence only worth transcending.

Category: Birding (Page 2 of 4)

Using ESRI ArcGIS / ArcMap on Mac OSX: 2 methods

Edit 07/26/2020:
Check out the expanded GIS notes page here!

Using ESRI ArcGIS / ArcMap on Macs: 2 methods

I need to run ESRI products on my MacBook Pro.   QGIS is always the prefered solution- open source, excellent free plugins, works on mac natively- but in a college / research environment, the only option that supports other people and school machines is ESRI.  Despite the annoying bureaucracy and expense of the software, some things are faster (but not better!) in ESRI, like dealing with raster / multiband data.

First, you need a license.

I went about this two ways;

My first solution was to buy an ESRI Press textbook on amazon.  A 180 day trial for $50- when taken as a college course, this isn't to bad.  🙂   The book is slow and recursive, but a 180 days to play with all the plugins and whistles allows for way deeper learning via the internet.   🙂

Do know there is a little-documented limit to the number of license transfers you may perform before getting either lock in or out of your software.  I hit this limit, as I was also figuring out my virtual machine situation, which would occasionally need a re-installation.

My current solution is “just buy a student license”.   $100 per year is less than any adobe situation- so really not that bad.  

Now you need a windows ISO.  

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10ISO

Follow that link for the window 10, 64 bit ISO.  YOU DO NOT NEED TO BUY WINDOWS.  It will sometimes complain about not having an  authentication, but in the months of using windows via VMs, never have I been prohibited to do... anything.  When prompted for a license when configuring your VM, click the button that says "I don't have a license".  Done.

 

Option one:  VirtualBox VM on a thumbdrive

https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads - download for the VM software

http://a.co/4FEYMNY, http://a.co/hanHYl1 Suitable USBs.  the VM will take up most of a 128gb flash drive- ~70 gb just for windows and all the stuff you'll want from a PC.  Add ESRI software and allocated space for a cache (where your GIS project works!), bigger is better.   Format all drives in disk utility as ExFat!  this is important, any other file system either won't fly or could wreak havoc (other FAT based ones may have too small file allocations!

I used two drives, a 128 and a 64- this is great because I can store all my work on the 64, so I can easily plug it into other (school) machines running windows ArcMap and keep going, without causing issues with the massive VM in the 128.  

Installation is straightforward, just install EVERYTHING on the usb drive and it will be fine.   🙂

Problems:   Stability.   Crashes, and python / some other script modules do not work well.  This is a problem.  ArcAdministrator gets confused about all kinds of things- FWIW, if you are googling to delete the FLEXnet folder to solve authentication file issues, move to option 2 🙂

Speed is down, but actually the ~same speed as our school "super" PCs- (though I happened to know they are essentially glorified "hybrid" VMs too!) .

Option two: OSX Bootcamp 

https://support.apple.com/boot-camp

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201468

This way, you will hit "option/alt" each time you restart/boot your computer to choose from win/osx.   This is easy to install, as it is mac and mac = easy.

Big Caveat:  it is much harder to install windows externally  (on a usb, etc) from bootcamp.  I didn't succeed in my efforts, but there could be a way....   The thing is, it really wants to run everything like a normal intel based PC, with all installations in the usual place.  This is good for the mac performance, but terrible for the tiny SSD hard drives we get as mac users.  I have a 256gb SSD.  I have an average of < 15 gb wiggle room here, and use every cloud service in the book.

If you need to manage your cloud storage because of a itsy mac SSD, my solution is still ODrive.   https://www.odrive.com/

I use Amazon cloud mostly with odrive, but I use a personal/school OneDrives, Dropboxes, Google,  etc.  with only the occasional hiccup.   Also, all of the AWS tools are great and cheap- EC2, S3, Cloud 9, lambda, RDS.... Great way to do your work outside of your mac via the internet.

Result:

ArcMap and GIS stuff is blazing fast on my modest 2015 i5/8gb macbook pro.  Comparing a huge, mega ATX+ school computer to my mac on boot camp, I am running large raster filtering operations significantly quicker than other folks doing the same type of work.   That is GOOD.

🙂

-Jess

Birding Beyond Binos: Find eBird Data for Fun!

eBird is an indispensable tool for the modern, savvy birder.  It even rolls with my lingo on the home page:

Birding in the 21st Century!  What's not to like?

There are a number of key parts to the ebird experience as a viewer, only a few of which I will cover on this page.

The two most essential parts of ebird include the ability to learn about and enjoy birds when we can't get out into the field, and know where to go/what to expect when we can.

The first objective is fulfilled with the "Species Maps" button under the "Explore Data" tab.
This tool allows us to find and track birds and their friends (such as "migrant warblers") around the world.   This is a great way to get a handle on migrations, local owls (owls are great!) and other species that can otherwise "fly under your radar".

 

Here, with the species tab open, I tell eBird I want to know the whereabouts of the blackburnian warblers.  

 

 

Instead of showing me all the individual sightings ever, I specify this month range (Aug-Nov) and the last ten years option.

It turns out they are all over the place right now, having migrated up the eastern seaboard.    So...

...Using the next date range (you can be more specific than I) we can see where they migrate on the south-end of things.

 

Below:

Wow!!  they are all pretty much in South America, as our frosty winter has set in here in the north.  

As you may well imagine, this is an amazing tool to discover patterns and predict when birds may arrive and depart, letting us effectively, "bird from home".

Not a problem!

 

 

The second objective is equally simple with eBird: what can we expect from a location, bird wise?

 

Using the "Explore Hotspots" tab now, I can search for my local county.  YMMV on what criteria you will need, be it city, county, etc. 

All these little upside-down pears show up.  Similar to the first foray, we can specify dates from the dropdown tab- but really, just use the right hand button and specify "Past Week" or "Past Month" (as I have done here).   Now, the color code represents recent activity!   plan your trip and pack your bags!

I hope this is helpful breaking the ice into the world of eBird- it really fires up your birding lifestyle and ability!

-Jess

Gallery of “Warblers in the Hand”

 

Birding Beyond Binos: 5 Bird apps vs. “the Guide”.

We all have a favorite bird, animal or plant guide.  Peterson is the best at drawing; Sibley takes the best pictures.  Kauffman ties it all together; National Geographic makes a solid reference and Audubon is great for fast looks.

While these books will always have a place on the shelf or table, the depth of content and portability of smartphone apps and trustworthy (e.g. reaserch related or associated with a big bird organization you recognize) websites truly foster the next level of ecological acuity.

[I will cover apps for iPhones and iPads- these are tools I have available and find to be indispensable.]  Like the shelf of guides they can replace out in the field, there is always room for another guide- and, generally speaking, cost significantly less than the least expensive print guide on your shelf.

  1. iBird PRO -

This app does it all: view photos, range maps, sounds, and similar birds, and search by band code, Latin/common name.  The sound recordings are pretty good and can be looped individually or as a species playlist (good for playback in research situations).  Similar bird songs are playable at the bottom of each species- great for learning and verifying nuances between similar songs.  The illustrations are “ok”- better than what I could do (obviously) but nothing quite like Peterson or Kauffman.  There are two more (add-on) engines in this app I have not used:  the local birds function by GPS (BAM) and a “humanized” search tool to pinpoint the bird you are looking for (Percevia).

  1. Audubon Birds

Audubon Birds has come a long way, and generally will offer more of a comprehensive written overview on each bird- going into feeding, behavior, breeding, and habitat discussions.  They seem to have added eBird integration (far, far superior to their “nature share” tool) which allows for both a mobile search into the unfathomably large user-based data set for local birds and a way to add your own data to eBird (though traditionally, the best way to do that is from a computer).

  1. Audubon Owls

This app is only a small vignette on owls; there seems to be more info geared solely about owls here than in Audubon Birds- photos, videos, tips, and tricks

  1. Merlin Bird ID

Despite the hardcore Bird Photo ID algorithms and location-based searches, this is geared toward those who may be starting out, and want to up the ante.  You fill in a few parameters about a bird sighting (this will not help with bird sounds), then it will generate a list of probable birds.  Supposedly, if you get a good photo of the bird on your phone (Digi scoping/Wi-Fi upload?) It can id the bird visually.

  1. eBird

If you are truly doing an eBird list for your trip, try this app for basic, quick additions- but I would not rely on it for media uploads or anything too crazy.  You can upload your checklist from the field then edit it later, though it is unclear if that is really a good idea in the scheme of data collection.

This is a list of the Bird apps I use on my phone, most getting use many times a week or even every day (iBird Pro).

-Jess

Rugby Morning #3.6

...During #3 I got demolished by biting insects- ".6" times later I had purchased and applied a significant DEET and re-entered the fray!

-Jess

Rugby Morning #2

Guess where I went this morning?

Breaking in the new spot.  Additionally, I saw Magnolia, Yellow, and Common Yellowthroat warblers, and heard Black Throated Blue and Green warblers.  Veery, Hermit, and  Ovenbird thrushes were around, in addition to catbirds.

-Jess

Some Environmental Rugby-Bird Portraits

I scoped out the local "rugby" field this morning.  A retired birder-couple told me "188 Species" of birds have been spotted in the last decade (by them) in this mixed-habitat space.  Here's a start...

-Jess

 

Common Yellow Throat

Red Bellied Woodpecker

Hermit Thrush

Catbird

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