05/02/2014
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Western Palearctic bird news and other service improvements

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We're delighted to announce the launch of a major new feature for the Bird News Extra service — Western Palearctic bird news. Significant sightings from the 'WP', the zoogeographic region which includes Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, now have their own dedicated channel on BirdGuides and will no longer be published as ad hoc free-form "Announcements" among British and Irish rarity reports.

To access WP bird news, you can simply vary the geographical range of your Bird News Extra reports. By default, the main Bird News Extra page will show all reports, domestic and overseas, just as it did before, except that overseas reports are now consistent with the other reports, but with a globe icon globe icon and a subtly different colour bar:

If you prefer, you can see just British and Irish reports, or just those from the rest of the WP. Swapping between 'ranges' like this is as simple as clicking the relevant link in the right-hand menu, or on one of the tabs that now appear above the list of reports:

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The 'All' and 'UK/Ireland' tabs show only reports from today, as before. The volume of regionally newsworthy WP reports may only be a few each day, so the Western Palearctic tab shows all WP reports from the last month.

There have also been minor changes to the columns at the top of the list of reports. Essentially, these work as before but the column names better match the data they represent. Clicking a column heading sorts the reports by that column; WP reports can be sorted by time, species or country.

The appearance of the reports themselves has also been improved, and new functionality has been added. Before, a single 'Details' button appeared in red if the bird or birds in question had attracted either photographs or comments or both, and was otherwise grey. There are now three smaller icons:

details a link to previous reports
photos a link to photos
comments a link to comments

with the relevant number in each case.

The Bird News Extra search page now has range-relevant tabs, so you can search for reports from the wider WP as well as those in the UK and Ireland. Some search terms (such as 'county' and 'rarity') are not appropriate in the context of our WP system, so are omitted from the search form.

Finally, each country now also has its own dedicated page, which currently shows recent reports, submitted photos, and past webzine articles relating to that country. These can be accessed by clicking on the name of a country in a report (for example, the Azores) or, for an index of links, see birdguides.com/sites/countries.

Written by: Dave Dunford, BirdGuides webmaster