To: Simon Mustoe <>
From: Alan McBride <>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2010 09:41:25 +1000

It would only go to BARC if "submitted". I don't believe they scour the net or 
elsewhere for new data? It has to be in a submission for them to work on it and 
rightly so. Likewise people who submit 'records' to various schemes: no change!

I'd much rather pay $12.00 and know what is probably around, whether I can get 
there or not. Given what you have to pay for Wifi, internet access, a coffee, 
etc., to get at e-mail or web browsers this seems to be nothing and well worth 

The issue is not whether people report it or don't know where to report it or 
indeed that they should report it and to whom does one send this "information". 
Indeed, "Is it useful?" "Should I tell someone?" "I don't know!" How many times 
have we all had a bird described to us that comes from a non-birder (who has a 
field guide on the coffee table); sometimes it's good sometimes it's not. 
Locally at Newport NSW I've seen a Pied Imperial Pigeon and I've heard "there's 
a big albatross nesting on the cliffs at Whale Beach" (answers on a postcard 
please;-) ) One right, one wrong!

There is also the problem as to whether the Willet that has turned up in front 
of them is in fact rare or indeed a Willet. It may not be obvious to them that 
because it is "not in my book", "not in the books at home or Bill's books", if 
it "sort of looks like this Black-tailed Godwit picture... woo hoo, it must be 
that". "Gee waders are impossible for me to work out", becomes the often heard 

The NSW Birdline system used to receive messages on an answering machine and 
was updated weekly! Occasionally there was an update made immediately but you 
still had to ring it to find out. 

Bird-O seems to be offering a useful service to me; Nobody seems to be asking 
you to pay for something you previously got for nothing as the one constant 
through this is that information just doesn't come out in a timely fashion 
anyway and currently we ARE NOT GETTING IT! 

I understand that Bird-O needs to make money; knowing just how much time Simon 
and Chris have put into this gobsmacks me. Good on em! May you retire rich at 

Rare bird alert or not, the 700+ guys Russell mentioned will indeed be on the 
way home as (some of them) have the money to hop a plane, some hear about it 
quicker than others, some go, some don't. This has always been the case and 
will probably not change. This is the same in UK where they have had pagers for 
years. Anyone who wants to can "join the inner circle" of hearing about birds 
when they occur. (Just as long as someone reports it);-)

This is about involving the wider community, getting everyone to send in 
reports (not records) simply "probable reports" that can be substantiated, 
acted upon and hopefully used by the wider community. Look at the great work 
done on Bird-O showing Semi-p's for instance and how to separate from 
congeners. If you've read this, you've already had value for your $12.00 or 
lack of!

Reality is that people are out there with binoculars and simply don't know that 
others would be interested in knowing of a bird they have just seen rarity or 
not! It just wouldn't occur to some people that others share their interest! I 
know, I've met some of them, cf albatross above;-)

Just to make it a little more clear: if you don't have a mobile phone you WILL 
NOT need to subscribe for SMS messaging, so no cost to you! The info would 
still be available to you on the web on Bird-O AND whatever it's fed to; This 
can be EVERY regional, club, society, organisation, (Eremea, B-A and Birdpedia 
included), tourist bureau or whatever in the country. It doesn't matter who you 
are or your what own pecuniary interests are. No change other than signing up 
to receive SMS alerts. Good idea huh;-)

Also, there is generally NO LIMIT to the length of an SMS or indeed for very 
lengthy texts, two may be sent.

NB. Some characters used are real. some are simply fictional for this note.

Much more to say but no time;-)



Alan McBride, MBO.
Photojournalist | Writer | Traveller |  +
Member:    Australian Photographic Society
                        International Travel Writers & Photographers Alliance
                        National Association of Independent Writers & Editors
                        American Writers & Artists Inc.
                        Travelwriters . com
Regional Representative Australia: Neotropical Bird Club
Good planets are hard to find; until we do, please, be green and read from the 
Tel:                + 61 419 414 860
Fax:              + 61 2 9973 2306
Skype:             mcbird101
P O Box 190 | Newport Beach | NSW 2106 | Australia
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