I'm pleased to find that it is tubenoses
arousing me to the point of finally contributing to this polite exchange of
Since moving to the Wet Tropics in 1994 I may
have enjoyed local delights like recording up to 251 birds in 24 hours, 199 in
seven hours and 140 from my backyard, but the diabolical accessibility to
petrels up here is a constant disappointment.
During cyclones in NENSW or SEQ I used to cling
to headlands alone or with others such as John Izzard to marvel at the passing
parade. Here I'm more concerned that my investment in housing will
suffer. Roads to the coast from Atherton quickly become impassable
anyway. The last cyclone at least produced Sooty Tern for my garden
list. Many other notables round Lake Tinaroo were seen, including Bridled
and Roseate Terns.
Except to local friends, I reported none of
Partly this is because I go birding every day
and my notes are full of notifiable events. My environmental consulting
business of 20 years generates enough paperwork to induce loathing when
confronted by more. This probably explains why I have turned increasingly
to bird guiding to provide the guise of gainful employment.
But like Milburn I also shun reporting because
of cynicism resulting from experience of the process. In the past I
submitted reports of the easily identifiable White-rumped Sandpiper and
Temminck's Stint, to have both rejected ('not accepted' in polite
terminology). The first was accepted by 3 members and an American expert
was 'inclined to accept'... the second was accepted by 4 members (half of
BARC). Are the rest idiots, overcautious or have personal points to settle
?? Such intemperate thoughts come easily, so you tend to drop out of the
process. Subsequently I submitted a Little Ringed Plover only because Tony pleaded so plaintively (oh, the photographs
It must be my alter ego that is a foundation member of the
QOSI Records Appraisal Committee. Despite what I say above, I enjoy the
appraisal process and have gained some insights about how decisions
eventuate. I suspect that many of the varying opinions among the members
of any committee result from the way they interpret descriptions.
Incorrect inferences may be inadvertent. Let's hope they are not
Correspondingly, I have the strong opinion that a forum such
as birding-aus should be totally unconstrained by any responsibility to verify
reports. Surely we can all make our own assessments, even about records
that have been accepted.
Let's remember that record appraisal is not science, otherwise
there would not be a voting process to determine acceptance or rejection.
In the spirit of 'Yes Minister' perhaps all records could be accepted according
to the vote. You could have 100 or 75 or 50 % acceptance. Rejection
would be 0 % acceptance !
Which reminds me of two scientists setting upon a hapless
birder. "But I'm an anti-twitcher !" Comes the
retort.."We don't care what sort of twitcher you are !"