Thanks for your comment. Sorry if you or others think so, I wasn't intending
"way overkill". I am curious at the general phenomenon (not just this case)
of people making big leaps of identification, rather than small leaps and
wondering why this sort of thing happens somewhat often. A very long time
ago (20 to 30 years) when I was seasick on a pelagic trip, I looked up at
something, probably not very clearly, and thought I had seen a distant
Wandering Albatross, because it was mainly white above, but that thought
only lasted a few minutes. No doubt it was an adult Gannet. So why did I
want it to be a Wandering Albatross, simply because I wanted it! But that is
a species you could reasonably expect to have encountered at that place and
It is interesting why would an identification go to that particular species
(Great Shearwater) which is unlikely just on status. I understand a new
birder to our shores learning the ropes thinking what a great bird. But
curious as to the thought process. Could it be because it has been mentioned
recently? As in my question is about the role of wishful thinking in bird
identification over the whole range of people and experiences. I don't see
this as rubbing it in.
And yes you are right that Great Shearwater is not ONLY "on the other side
of the world" (but usually is).
Lastly the question remains: Do any shearwaters feed by diving behaviour as
-----Original Message-----From: Jeff Davies
Sent: Monday, 19 March 2012 2:35 PM
To: 'Philip Veerman'; Cc:
Subject: Birdline Western Australia Weekly Update GREAT
SHEARWATER CLEARLY NOT
This is way overkill Philip,
it was an honest mistake by Andrew McKey a new birder to our shores learning
the ropes, who was brave enough to put up a report for scrutiny.
Should have been picked up by the forum administrators before going to air,
but has now been corrected by a couple of observant forum readers as a
perfect description for a young Gannet. Reports of late demonstrate clearly
that Great Shearwater is not only "on the other side of the world" and this
probably resonated with Andrew.
So why rub it in, cheers Jeff.
On Behalf Of Philip Veerman
Sent: Monday, 19 March 2012 2:08 PM To: Cc:
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Birdline Western Australia
Weekly Update GREAT SHEARWATER CLEARLY NOT
Sure we can make mistakes on confusing difficult species but I am amused by
this one, not at the making a mistake. I can understand someone saying I
don't know what it is but why come up with an idea of Great Shearwater? I
don't find it in my Aussie field guides, so why would that be in the mix of
ideas? Indeed Peter Harrison's Seabirds book shows Great Shearwater on the
opposite side of the world. Looking at the pictures of Great Shearwater in
that book does not raise images to me of similarity to a gannet. Gannet do
occur in UK. I think Michael Palin said he didn't like a British bird book
because it had the Gannet in it.
Lastly, now I am curious. Do any shearwaters feed by diving behaviour as
described? I have not seen it.
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