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Using the Hotspot Explorer

The Hotspot Explorer is the best and easiest way to view hotspotsThis is a wonderfully interactive and visual way to explore hotspots worldwide, and is integrated with many other aspects of the eBird Explore Data content. 

When you first arrive at the map, you see a broad grid representing species diversity. The hottest areas are bright red. Click on any grid cell to see the diversity value. Zoom in to see finer grid cells, and zoom in further to view individual hotspots (also coded by diversity). You can restrict month/year range at the top of the page to refine what information the Hotspot Explorer returns. NOTE: The grid cells show overall diversity for that grid cell, including personal locations (not the diversity at hotspots); it is possible to have a grid cell with 100 species but no hotspots.

When you zoom in further, the colors of any given hotspot marker illustrate how many species have been seen at that hotspot – the "warmer" the color, the more species. ​When you click on a hotspot, you see the number of species and checklists that have been reported, and are also presented with links to submit data from that hotspot and view more details about the location, as shown here.  The links in this pop-up can take you to other Explore Data options – Bar Charts, High Counts, or even to give directions to that site. 
When you click the "View Details" option on a hotspot pop-up, you get a new page specific to that location with data summaries and more information relevant to eBirders (e.g., Top 10 eBirders for the hotspot including your ranking, recent checklists). The most recent sightings list is a full species list for the hotspot. You can expand this to see the images, audio files, and comments by clicking the "Show All Details". "Recent Visits" gives you quick links to the latest checklists submitted from the hotspot. You can also link directly to the Bar Charts or High Counts for a hotspot from this page, using the tabs at the top of the page. It is important to note that the default view is "Last Seen", showing the last record of each species that has ever been seen at this hotspot. This is a constantly changing list, and just because your sighting isn't showing up there doesn't mean that it isn't in the database – someone has likely just observed the species more recently than you have. Looking in Recent Visits may show your checklist if it was submitted recently enough.

You can search for a hotspot by name using the search bar on the upper left. Now you can type and find "Cape May" or "Abra Patricia" or "Cley" or "Lake Nakuru" and see all the options available for that location. You can also quickly zoom into an area of interest by using the location search box on the upper right.

In addition to the very best hotspots, see if you can also find some areas that aren't as well covered. Can you make it into the Top 10 for all time? For a single month?

NOTE: If you have birded a location that is not a hotspot, and you would like it to become one, please review this article on how to suggest a hotspot from your Manage My Locations page in eBird.
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