PF Pelagic

To: "Jennifer Spry" <>, "" <>
Subject: PF Pelagic
From: "Colin R" <>
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 09:24:08 +1000
Hi Jennifer
While I agree with most of your comments regarding rare species and the
need to be open to unusual birds turning up in unexpected places, I felt
I must reply to your comment 'does it really matter?'.....
If the observer is happy with their list and interested only in keeping
it private and personal, No, of course not. However, if they publish
their observations or 'claims' without adequate backing then it can do a
number of things - first and foremost other birders will go looking for
the bird and if it's not 'real' it's very frustrating. Secondly, and
more importantly, if enough inaccurate reports are rec'd (and that's
what we are talking about here isn't it?) it will lead to a view of the
species being more common and widespread than it may be and of course,
ultimately, distort the distribution maps, breeding expectations,
species status ect, so Yes, I think it does matter! Your observation of
a Letter-winged Kite so many years ago is a perfect example, as my
memory of a Great Spotted Woodpecker in Dublin, Ireland (too many years
ago to count) is to me. I am as certain as you are of what I saw, but
GSW's are still extremely rare in Ireland, as LWKs are in Broken Hill.
If 30 or 40 'false' reports were rec'd though.... one might plan one's
holiday to take in Dublin for GSW !!
Ok - if they keep it quiet but in the end most don't!


On Wed, 18 Jan 2006 19:58:54 +1100, "Jennifer Spry"
<> said:
> Hi all,
> An interesting string. No, I did not know the background to Stephen?s
> email. I would say the same thing though. If the "rare" bird (s) were
> seen well enough to confirm the field marks, and the bird was within a
> reasonable range, then I do not think one needs to be an "expert" to add
> it to one?s list. If the bird (s) were way (and I emphasise way) outside
> their normally range or vision was difficult, I would be considering the
> comments and the options however.
> I met a couple on Bruny Island in Tas who told me that they had seen a
> Grey Falcon in central Tasmania. I gave them a couple of options to
> check in the field guides and mentioned that Grey Falcons are very rare.
> BUT, they saw the bird, not me, and if they were 100% sure then who am I
> to say that they were wrong? Does it really matter? As a friend has said
> to me, It is your (their) list. And I agree.
> And interestingly, I have never knowingly met, or even heard first hand,
> of someone wilfully keeping a dishonest list. I think birders are,
> general, totally honest with themselves, if not why bother keeping a
> list?
> If I were in Stephen?s shoes I would have the birds on my list; but I
> would be saving to come back and see them again, just to consolidate the
> sighting; but that is just me. And it is how I feel about the
> Letter-winged Kite that is on my list. The one I saw when I was 16. At
> dusk. In a tree. North-east of Broken Hill. I am 100% certain and it is
> on my list. I can still picture the bird and the tree; I just need to
> see one again! (smile).
> Personally, I am just glad that bird watching is not a competitive
> pastime (she said rolling around on the floor laughing)
> Happy counting
> Jen
> ps: and for those who can get there, isn?t the WTP fun at the moment!! I
> enjoyed some of the most enjoyable social birding there on yesterday ?
> rarities running all over our feet, so to speak. Thanks everyone who was
> there.
> Jen
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  Colin Reid
So many birds, so little time......

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