Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Cool to be Crap

Six days since I blogged. It's a lifetime in birding terms. Perusing my blog reader briefly between large mouthful's of wedding/birthday/constant (delete as applicable) cake I notice a distinct change in the air. In a nutshell it's cool to be crap, in fact if there was ever a good time to admit to your past errors it's right now as birders in the UK appear to have declared an amnesty on ID errors and the spirit of forgiveness and goodwill to all men has even reached into the recesses of the Rare Birds Forum on Birdforum.
The Punks have become 'Pants', albeit temporarily, and the mantra 'We're all still learning' is being chanted in hides across the land. So not one to miss a bandwagon I thought I would clear up a couple of oldies that have been lurking like mouldy cheese in the fridge.
First up my 1989 Alpine Swift, with hindsight maybe I got it wrong and a rejection was appropriate. Fresh back from watching them from the nudist beach in Crete, perhaps it was a case of having barely enough knowledge to be dangerous.
Then there was that incident with the Snowy Owl  white plastic bag, in my defence my Optima Super 60 scope was not the most distance friendly optical item I've ever owned and it was windy.
The 2000 Newbiggin Honey Buzzard, (sorry you didn't see it Stewart, I tried) was a Honey Buzzard and zeitgeist or not it's on my list and staying put regardless of water torture, reviews or intervention by minor deities.
So there, I'm out and it feels great and I never mentioned the Black-faced Bunting episode once, oops.


Pete Woodruff said...

I once ID'd a white plastic bag as a Little Egret....from a long way off you understand Alan.

But listen you don't need me to tell you these 'macho' types don't admit to errors....too 'girlie' innit. There are too many to recall but the 'high profile' guy who thought a Shag was a Cormorant comes immediately to mind.

Stewart said...

I outed in 1986 after a juv Black Tern turned out to be a juv Common Tern at Bothal Pond. A lesson learned I have never strung a thing since. Gospel. The key is to be fully honest with yourself and never claim a positive id until its 100%. How sure are you of your 'Punk Birders' Rough leg now?

alan tilmouth said...

I think there's a difference between the flycatcher, seen in murky conditions close to dusk and a bird seen in good light. I didn't see the Rough Leg as you know but I don't think you should throw the baby out with the bath water either, one mis-id does not a bad birder make.

Stewart said...

Fair point Alan, but if you remember at the time, the main reason for your belief in the bird was based on the 'infalibility' of the said crew...its funny how many southern visitors to these parts find Rough Legs when locals with years of time and experience find pale commons... In the case of this species I think it is fair to throw a good record to avoid acceptance of half a dozen bad ones. That just skews the birds true status. Mulitiple experienced obs or images I say.

alan tilmouth said...

I don't think I ever used the word 'infallible', just that the observer in question was experienced with a good track record.
I'm a little surprised at 'multiple obs' you're like me in that much of your birding is done alone, do you expect much of what you see to get thrown out as no one else sees it?