Re: birding-aus Seabird watching trips and leadership

To: Philip A Veerman <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Seabird watching trips and leadership
From: Keith Martin <>
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 16:45:13 +1000 (EST)

I am sure Philips' email will receive a number of responses, but I
thought I would make some comments as I was on board the trip in
question. I am fairly familiar with pelagic species, but by no means an
expert and not one of the leaders.

On Thu, 30 Sep 1999, Philip A Veerman wrote:

> seabird watching. They went on the Wollongong one last Saturday. They had a
> wonderful day out, saw heaps close up, Humpback Whales, even banding of some
> albatross but couldn't remember which ones.

OK! No trip report has been posted yet, largely becuase I suspect the
SOSSA people were too excited about their other two trips that weekend
:) The albatross species were largely Wanderers of various
subdenominations (I also look forward to the details there) and also I
think at least one Black-browed.. but that's by the by..

> They did, however offer one point for improvement. I think it is reasonable
> to pass it on, even to a broad audience, because it is also relevant to any
> of us leading any birdwatching trips.
> The response I heard was that those leading knew their stuff really well but
> there was something of a deficit in explaining much to those others on
> board, what was what and what was going on. The impression they received is
> that there seemed to be an assumption that those on board already knew
> everything.

I think this is a fair comment and I am sure those involved will
consider it. It would perhaps be more welcoming to quickly debrief
everyone on the days plans and maybe introduce one another at the start.
A little introduction from the "leaders", a quick blah blah on SOSSA,
and a summary of the day's activities would be welcome to those who have
turned up fairly fresh. 

However, to defend the "leaders" on board last Saturday (Pete and
Lindsay) I would say the following - 

1 - They turned up late! We had to leave in a bit of a hurry and
introductions would have been a bit rushed... Perhaps more of an effort
should have been made. I guess I introduced myself to a bunch of folk at
the start, but once we got going it was a bit harder.

2 - Once on the boat people spread out and it is quite impossible to
convey information to the whole boat once it is moving. Anyone who needs
help on ids or extra information need only ask those around them. When a
new species was seen someone always yelled out. If you needed the "why
is that a Fluttons?" or "could you really see the colour on the end of
that Giant Petrel's bill or are you winding me up?" information then
there were plenty people to ask (consistent answers are another thing
altogether!!). I always received good information when I asked for it..  

> in leading birding trips where the identifying is relatively simple, there
> is still a lot that can and should be said in providing some education to
> beginners. Hazel was very disappointed that there wasn't an evaluation form
> given out at the end, so that people there could provide some feedback (Well
> she is a teacher). 

Well to be honest I think this last suggestion is really not necessary!
If someone on board has some feedback to give then there was plenty of
opportunity to simply provide it in person. If Hazel wanted more
identification information provided she should simply have asked someone
to provide it. What was missing perhaps was an open invitation to do

> difficult). So a bit more imparting would have helped a lot.  Maybe a sort
> checklist of likely species would also help.

I think that's a good idea and would be easy to arrange. That said, the
"checklist" information is all on Tony's web page and I checked it
before I went (but sure, some folks don't have Internet access).

The bottom line is that I suspect the bulk of attendees on these trips
are either regulars, experts, or fairly informed newbies (as you have to
be fairly informed/interested to find out about the trips in the first
place). I think more could be done for people really new to sea watching
and I quite agree that a little bit more could have been done on board
to welcome everyone, set the day's agenda etc, but over the piece all
the information and helpfulness is there to those who ask.

I'm glad the folks enjoyed the trip  - I certainly did (even though we
didn't see anything that brought the house down!) - and I look forward
to a full trip report being posted sometime soon.


Keith Martin

To unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to

Include ONLY "unsubscribe birding-aus" in the message body (without the

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU