As someone who was involved in the maintenance of this database for a number
of years I could not let these comments pass. As Andy Burton has said, the
Cotton Pygmy-Goose is a genuine record - the fact that there are four
records means that it was probably submitted by four different observers or
on different dates (I actually think it was the latter as the records were
actually taken from NSWFOC reports). Vagrant records will always look like
this (I entered a record for the OBP which in 20 years time may look very
odd in a species list for Randwick Council).
Until I left in 2001 the database was getting better (I admit there have
been numerous dubious records included, but we were working on it). Since I
left the major change has been the inclusion of data from other sources
(such as Australian Museum, Birds Australia, etc.) within the dataset that
is used for species lists. These records are not validated by NPWS as they
are not the responsibility of NPWs to manage (though we usually notify the
contributing source of any that we are concerned with).
Anyone that gets data from the Atlas as actual records only gets records
that NPWS is able to pass on (those that have been submitted directly to
NPWs or have been published). A vetting process does get undertaken on these
records and the possible dodgy ones are usually excluded. However, having
worked with the dataset these are often very difficult to track down and
hence some get chopped which are probably OK and some do get through.
However, if the records are obtained they all are assigned an accuracy (how
good the location details are), a reliability (usualy based on the observer
but some older records just standardised) and the date.
I admit the Atlas is not perfect, though at this stage it is the only place
that you can easily get records of birds, mammals, frogs and reptiles.
Generally the database can only be as good as the records submitted to it.
From: "Graham" <>
To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: RE: [BIRDING-AUS] Unusual Sightings in the Lane Cove national Park
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2003 13:47:36 +1000
having had some dealings with the NPWS wildlife atlas I
suggest that all records on the database are used with caution. While
the two species listed below are quite reasonable, many records are just
silly. Errors range from data entry mistakes through to ID mistakes
(little or no vetting of data is carried out).
On Behalf Of
Sent: Sunday, 24 August 2003 10:39 AM
Subject: [BIRDING-AUS] Unusual Sightings in the Lane Cove national Park
I was just on the NSW National Parks and wildlife service website and
went into the bird list of Lane Cove National Park.
The website is worth a visit as there is some recent quite unusual
The following are some of them,
Cotton Pygmy Goose 4 sightings- record generated 23-8-03
Bar Shouldered Dove 1 sighting-record generated 23-8-03
the webpage is at
(cut and paste)
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