To: <>, "Frank O'Connor" <>
Subject: BARC
From: "Margaret Cameron" <>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 14:18:17 +1000
Congratulations Frank on an excellent letter.

I think BARC does a very good job - and 100% of the BARC submissions (two) with which I have been associated have been knocked back, so I'm obviously not in their club!

BARC is absolutely right to expect a good field description - after all, you may be making history and they are responsible for legitimising your claim. I haven't read any failed BARC submissions (not even those two) so I can't comment on them, but I have read lots of Unusual Record Forms of various kinds and am frequently disappointed at the standard of information observers think is adequate. Some amount to "I know it is x because it was like the picture in the book", others simply transcribe the field guide description (and yes I've checked). A long time ago a BARC member described a submitted bird as "consisting only of a flying field mark".

I am frequently in awe not only of Mike Carter's knowledge but of his thorough and systematic field notes, and reading the articles based on his notes and his BARC submissions that he publishes in Australian Field Ornithology has caused me to improve my own note taking (and not before time!). If I see another potential rarity, I hope it won't fail because of my inadequate observation and description.

I agree with Hugo and Frank - if you think you've got a rarity, make a submission. Write as full a description as you can of what you see, as far as possible on the spot, including behaviour, and definitely consult a BARC member for help in preparing your submission if you are doubtful about what to do. Be prepared to wait for BARC's response - any process involving a number of people is slow especially if they are people who frequently travel to distant places.

Good luck!


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