Mammalwatching.com: More than just trip reports!
Charles Foley’s recent post on mammalwatching gear prompted me to send a quick post about the hidden depths of mammalwatching.com. Charles, who is one of the more avid and long-standing, members of the community was unaware of some of the other material on the site beyond the trip reports. Clearly the website could be better organised: what seems crystal clear in my own mind is seldom that way for other people!
So, here’s a quick outline of the site.
I guess most of you are aware of the various national/state pages that contain links to trip reports and discussions on the community. You can navigate to these via the map on the home page or the search fields.
You are also most probably aware of the forum/community page. You can submit trip reports here: though some people send me PDF reports to post, if you can manage the technology then it is better to post them yourself (either as a PDF or by writing a report direct in the website). This means you don’t need to wait for me to post your report and, more importantly, everyone is clear on who is doing the posting, plus you get notified of community comments.
But don’t stop here. Please take a look at some of the other drop down menus at the top of the homepage.
The “About” menu
Links to my lifelist (both global and continental lists). OK, probably not very interesting for anyone other than me, but it can be useful if you are interested in finding out whether I have seen a certain species rather than search the whole site. I would be very happy to put other people’s lifelists up here too if you feel like sharing.
The “Community” menu
Links to the community forum and to the join a trip page. The latter lists personal trips in the making that are looking for travelling companions. Tour operators are welcome to advertise for a small fee. If you want to be included here then just post your trip on the forum and I will include it.
The “Resources” menu
Contains what I hope are a bunch of useful pages.
Global Mammal Checklist – a list I’ve developed based – more or less – on the taxonomy used by the IUCN Red List. Its more lumpy than splitty. Updated every 6 – 12 months.
Mammal Watching Gear – a collection of posts reviewing books, flashlights, thermal scopes and other equipment.
Mammal Vocalisation Library – a growing collection of links to mammal calls.
Useful Links – a set of references to websites, books and other resources that are useful for mammal watching worldwide. Many more regional and national links are included in the relevant country and ecozone (regional) pages.
Whale and dolphin watching worldwide, the content of which you can probably guess.
Mammal Watching Tips has some basic advice on how to look for mammals and where to look for them (but you know all that already).
Hope all this makes sense. I would love to hear your thoughts on two questions.
- How can we improve the structure/layout so this is all easier to find or navigate to?
- What is missing? What other things could we include here?
All other suggestions very welcome, including additional information for any of the existing pages.
Thanks Venkat, this is a very good idea. I will work on creating a page and then we can take it from there. Would be good to work out – for the guides at least – how to get some sort of verification/ seal of approval from the community so we can be sure they are good. Not quite sure how to do this in a way that is fair and useful… so if you have any ideas…
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Could also be useful to have a page with contact info for local experts and/or guides for different parts of the world. It would be great to have a readily-available directory of mammal watchers with expertise in different areas who are happy to help when planning trips. We could have this accessible only to people who are registered on the site (behind a login portal), so the emails/contact info aren’t readily available to spammers.