Hi Laurie et al
This type of immediate communication between birders has often
been a discussion point among a group of us, one in particular
who carried a pager in the UK for this express purpose for many
Because of Austalia's position and the general bird population
and lack of movement, i.e. no passage or major migration, I don't
think there is enough to justify the expense in setting up a
pager service. When you look at regular reports from the UK and
Ireland - every week there is a rarity of some description
somewhere and, particularly at this time of year, the possibility
of passage migrants dropping in from far distant places increases
I do, however, believe there is a case for establishing an
agreement to notify other birders when something unusual does
occur - for example the Oriental Plover last week. I took it upon
myself, on Stuart's request, to place emails on all the birding
sites I believed relevant and to txt a couple of birders with
whom I have a personal agreement. There may be others out there
who would be interested in a similar arrangement.
Unfortunately, not all lists appear to recognise the importance
of some species and so the 'news' can be overlooked or delayed.
This type of action also requires all participants to recognise
and agree to certain standards.
If I can be so bold as to use a couple of examples:
The Oriental plover was the first one of its kind in SE Qld
since, it appears, 1991 and so worthy, I believe, of nomination
to at least a Scarcity level. Most Qld birders may already have
seen the bird - in NT or Northern Qld,- but undoubtedly there
would be a number of SE Qld birders who would like to tick it off
their SE Qld lists.
Earlier this year a Regent's Honeyeater turned up at Anstead in
Brisbane's western suburbs. Again perhaps most Qld birders have
seen this species - in the Capertree valley in NSW probably - but
once again, they are very few and far between in SE Qld (maybe 2
records in the last 10 or 15 years?) so I would think this was of
Another brilliant example was the Australian Bittern at Lake
Clarendon a few months ago - ditto the above.
Having said that - birds such as Little Bronze Cuckoo, Great
Crested Grebe or the like - while they may be interesting and
nice to see are not what I would consider noteworthy in a system
such as this. An email to a birding list maybe, but as a txt to
be included on a rarity listing? I don't think so - remembering
this is just one person's opinion! Similarily Lewin's Rail,
Spotless Crake or Freckled Duck - they are all 'good' birds and
can be difficult to see in SE Qld, but are worthy of note as an
email to a birding list - but again, including them on a list of
rarities? I don't think so. On the other hand, in my opinion,
Common Sandpiper, Black-tailed Native Hen and Swift Parrot are
all worthy of notice, and worthy of immediate communication to
other birders. They are all difficult to see in SE Qld and are
unlikely to hang around long.
So - setting the standard is the most difficult thing and is
exemplified in the current thinking on existing 'rarity'
I would be interested to hear others thoughts on this somewhat
controversial subject... and we haven't even touched on the
'twitcher' angle, which can get up some folk's noses! On that
subject just let me say - I like to see new birds, if you don't
that's cool.... but I do and I spend a lot of time observing and
recording local and common birds while looking for new ones or
birds out of their normal range. Would I drive hundreds of
kilometers to see a new bird? Probably, yes, having done the
Grey-headed Lapwing thing and the Lesser Yellowlegs trip (twice),
not sure I'd pay $1000 to fly to and from Broome but that's based
more on my financial situation rather than any moral principle.
If that doesn't sit well with you - then the whole concept of
alerting other birders to rarities local or otherwise is not for
you. That's cool too - but for those of you who are interested -
let's hear from you!
On Thu, 29 Oct 2009 22:16 +1000, "L&L Knight"
> http://www.birdforum.net/sightingsmap.php is an example of what
> be developed when there is a critical density of twitchers in a
> Interestingly the categories are uncommon, scarcity, rarity and
> rarity. The current map shows 4 mega-rarities, which may
> that the scale might need to be re-calibrated.
> Regards, Laurie.
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So many birds, so little time......
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