Correction 'Blue-faced' Fig-Parrot

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Correction 'Blue-faced' Fig-Parrot
From: "Alastair Smith" <>
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2007 18:58:42 +1100
Earlier this year there was much controversy and debate on this forum
following the announcement that John Young had found a 'blue-faced' Fig
Parrot. The accompanying photograph was denounced by experts as likely to
have been altered in some way and there was much made when John's fellow
collaborators distanced themselves from the finding. At the time I wondered
why a respected naturalist would commit professional suicide by announcing a
discovery that looked like it could not be authenticated. Offline, I
discussed this very issue with some of those who were most strident in their
criticism. I had reason for asking as I had just signed up to a Cape York
tour with John.


That tour concluded in Cairns on Saturday and during the trip John showed us
about 15 photographs of the parrots. I asked about the questionable
photograph and John replied that it was purposely only 35kb in size which is
why it looked decidedly unconvincing when blown up. John zoomed the
photographs he showed us to about 500% and the feather patterns and colour
remained convincing.  He has his reasons for not answering his critics but
in time I am completely convinced that John will be vindicated. Of course we
will all have to wait for the publication of the data in a respected
ornithological/scientific journal. Indeed John left us to return to the area
of the finding where the birds are said to be nesting, in order to film the
birds in high definition.


I had not met John before the Cape York trip, but having spent two weeks
with him I have unqualified respect for him as a person. I admire his
abilities as an amateur ornithologist, particularly his determination in
staying as long as necessary to  find an elusive quarry and finally his
infectious love for Australia's avifauna. 





Apologies. I must have had Blue-faced Parrot Finch on my mind, having dipped
on Mt Lewis. 


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