Monday, March 23, 2009

Webapp for Butterflies

In addition to the birds mentioned in a previous post, yesterday I also saw my first butterflies of the season: two Mourning Cloaks in the Glades and a Cabbage White in Collingswood. I can take or leave Cabbage Whites, but I never tire of seeing Mourning Cloaks' rich colors.

I have long been wishing for an online listing program that would allow me to track my butterfly and dragonfly sightings. My hope had been that eBird or Birdstack would add butterfly listing to their already-great bird listing capabilities. So far that has not happened, but it appears that there is a worthy competitor for butterfly-watchers. The North American Butterfly Association has produced a webapp called Butterflies I've Seen.

Like the two birdwatching sites, Butterflies I've Seen allows users to create checklists of the birds they have seen on field trips, which are defined by a date and location. Users can choose from among predefined locations drawn from a USGS database or add new locations. Any new locations are saved for a user to access for future field trips. Once the trip information is entered, a user can choose species from a checklist and add counts and field notes.

The Butterflies I've Seen interface is a little less user-friendly than eBird, especially when it comes to plotting locations. (To supply latitude and longitude for a location, try this site.) The life list also leaves a lot to be desired; instead of just listing species I have seen, the list shows every species in North America, with the ones I have seen marked with a location and date. (On the plus side, I can mark species I have seen but without a recorded date and place, something not possible in eBird.) Still, the site is a good start and fills one of my listing gaps.

If you know of any other interesting listing webapps, please leave a comment.