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Old Saturday 7th January 2017, 21:02   #26
wheatearlp
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Of course one always has the option of not responding!...
Mostly I don't, but mainly 'cos I'd only be fourthing, fifthing or sixthing the ID 😊
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Old Saturday 7th January 2017, 21:15   #27
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Or possibly the images might be from a newbie whose prime aim is to show of their shots, or who lives ''isolated'' within a non birding culture....
Both possible I guess, but most of the 'Dunnock' shots are requesting an ID not praise for the photo, reinforcing my point about the deteriorating awareness of common species... although nothing is that common any longer 😞
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Old Saturday 7th January 2017, 21:18   #28
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Both possible I guess, but most of the 'Dunnock' shots are requesting an ID not praise for the photo, reinforcing my point about the deteriorating awareness of common species... although nothing is that common any longer 😞
I think that many of the 'Dunnock' type requests are probably from casual photographers who don't own a bird book? I can't believe anyone who birds with any regularity would need to be told what a Dunnock looks like?

Photos are a great aid to many it has to be said, I find them especially helpfull on foreign trips with stuff like high flying raptors.


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Old Saturday 7th January 2017, 21:20   #29
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I imagine nothing has really changed - just in the olden days there was no such thing as friendly forums such as this where people who didn't know what something was could ask their questions.
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Old Saturday 7th January 2017, 22:31   #30
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I understand what is being said here as well as understanding the use of cameras to 'confirm' tricky IDs... or flag up records that would otherwise be missed (important to some, less so to others - not saying one is more valuable than the other). However there also appears to be a decline in the knowledge about, and recognition of, 'common' species. Do people not notice things until they 'become birders'? Therefore, by definition, everything is new - I've certainly experienced this in the past from acquaintances/work colleagues who have started to take an interest. Do people have no mentors any more, is birding something taken up on a whim without encouragement or inspiration from others ( I was lucky enough to have a couple of friends at school who nurtured my fledgling interest). Do people not look at field-guides any more? Posts asking "Is this a [insert species name]?" is good, posting images with "What's this?" suggests no effort at all has been made. One that particularly irritated me was "Please confirm the ID" with no suggestion as to what the bird was - what were we supposed to confirm?
Does all of this explain the plethora of Dunnock/Chaffinch/Blackbird photos along with the assertion "I've never seen one of those before"? Is it symptomatic of life these days, everything has to be 'easy' and all have to be spoon-fed? Slight rant over and I apologise to those who don't know me from Adam, especially as I'm not a regular poster outside my local patch threads.
Some shared sentiments here; we are obviously 'of an age'. It's particularly telling in Spring & Autumn when all the 'is this a Chiffchaff/Meadow Pipit (delete as applicable) or ...' posts start to appear, as they do with unfailing regularity. The poster then goes on to sign off with their list of latest lifers - be it Dusky Thrush, Sibe Accentor etc etc; ironic, no?
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Old Sunday 8th January 2017, 01:32   #31
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I think that many of the 'Dunnock' type requests are probably from casual photographers who don't own a bird book? I can't believe anyone who birds with any regularity would need to be told what a Dunnock looks like?

Photos are a great aid to many it has to be said, I find them especially helpfull on foreign trips with stuff like high flying raptors.


A
The occasional Dunnock-type request does come from an overseas birder who's never seen a Dunnock before, too. They're not necessarily the easiest bird for North Americans to identify, given that we don't have any accentors over here.
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Old Sunday 8th January 2017, 07:40   #32
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I think the bf identification section should be the centre of excellence for mentoring in this day and age. We are missing a trick here.

Someone posts a pic, and gets several one word responses, "Chiffchaff", "agreed", "thirded", ..
What is the original poster to do other than come back for help next time. With a slightly different looking Chiffchaff!

I think we should be mentoring people here.. not telling them what it is, giving them clues and tools so they can identify it themselves, and if they are interested, they'll be better equipped next time. The beauty is, you'd be mentoring dozens of people who follow the threads.

If there are people who just can't be bothered identifying birds themselves, they would either think twice before posting!, Or realise how much fun and rewarding, the challenge of finding and identifying wildlife is.

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Old Sunday 8th January 2017, 08:33   #33
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I think the bf identification section should be the centre of excellence for mentoring in this day and age. We are missing a trick here.

Someone posts a pic, and gets several one word responses, "Chiffchaff", "agreed", "thirded", ..
What is the original poster to do other than come back for help next time. With a slightly different looking Chiffchaff!

I think we should be mentoring people here.. not telling them what it is, giving them clues and tools so they can identify it themselves, and if they are interested, they'll be better equipped next time. The beauty is, you'd be mentoring dozens of people who follow the threads.

If there are people who just can't be bothered identifying birds themselves, they would either think twice before posting!, Or realise how much fun and rewarding, the challenge of finding and identifying wildlife is.

"Everyone can be a birder!"
Speaking as a beginner who still struggles with CC/WW and Tripit Mipit for example (although who hopefully is learning because of some excellent responses in the ID section!) I couldn't agree more Peter!

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Old Sunday 8th January 2017, 08:56   #34
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Originally Posted by peter.jones View Post
I think the bf identification section should be the centre of excellence for mentoring in this day and age. We are missing a trick here.

Someone posts a pic, and gets several one word responses, "Chiffchaff", "agreed", "thirded", ..
What is the original poster to do other than come back for help next time. With a slightly different looking Chiffchaff!

I think we should be mentoring people here.. not telling them what it is, giving them clues and tools so they can identify it themselves, and if they are interested, they'll be better equipped next time. The beauty is, you'd be mentoring dozens of people who follow the threads.

If there are people who just can't be bothered identifying birds themselves, they would either think twice before posting!, Or realise how much fun and rewarding, the challenge of finding and identifying wildlife is.

"Everyone can be a birder!"
I wholeheartedly agree with this - and I try on the few occasions I am quick enough (and capable) of contributing to the ID forum to include the reasons why I think the bird is what I'm ID'ing it as. I also value the insight the experts there give into why it's a LSE, not GSE etc etc.

However I have found over in 'Gallery' different norms seem to apply - lots of photos are wrongly labelled and try to correct someone's ID, or even when an ID is requested and you try to give a tip as to why it is an 'x', and you can get some very terse responses - even told not to be so 'serious'. Not from all for sure - many are pleased for the input - but from more than a few. Seems there are lots who photograph birds but have no real interest in them, or at least about improving their ID skills - no problem with that I suppose, but equally mentoring will not have much value to them either.

Mick

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Old Sunday 8th January 2017, 08:59   #35
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I've just been chastised on twitter for pointing out to someone that their female Gadwall is in fact a drake! Shan't bother in future I'm afraid.
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Old Tuesday 10th January 2017, 20:16   #36
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Fascinating discussion, I only started birding about 6 years ago and have a view - if I haven't taken a photo of it I haven't seen it. I learned to identify birds by taking photos and going through pages of books to ID the species. Next time I saw the species I knew what it was (mostly !). I'm still not good enough to say "that's a Pine Bunting" in a flock of mixed buntings but I am good enough to say "that bird is different" ! Take a photo, go home, look up the books to try to ID it then if I'm really still not sure ask on Birdforum. That seems to bother some people and I'm not sure why as surely the idea is to pass on knowledge. What I find most annoying is a single word answer like "Chaffinch" with no explanation as to why, that is pretty useless to anyone. Back to my original post, about 2 dozen people all said "that's the Pine Bunting" Some took photos, most left happy, and probably still are happy, that they had seen the bird. I wasn't sure when I got home and asked for help or reassurance. What I do know is that if the bird is a Corn Bunting then it was a bit different from the other Corn Buntings there. Fascinating discussion as I said !
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Old Wednesday 11th January 2017, 00:49   #37
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I find that a comeback with a (worded nicely) "Why?" usually get a slightly longer response, sometimes from the same, sometimes from a different member.

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Old Wednesday 11th January 2017, 12:53   #38
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Fascinating discussion, I only started birding about 6 years ago and have a view - if I haven't taken a photo of it I haven't seen it. I learned to identify birds by taking photos and going through pages of books to ID the species. Next time I saw the species I knew what it was (mostly !). I'm still not good enough to say "that's a Pine Bunting" in a flock of mixed buntings but I am good enough to say "that bird is different" ! Take a photo, go home, look up the books to try to ID it then if I'm really still not sure ask on Birdforum. That seems to bother some people and I'm not sure why as surely the idea is to pass on knowledge. What I find most annoying is a single word answer like "Chaffinch" with no explanation as to why, that is pretty useless to anyone. Back to my original post, about 2 dozen people all said "that's the Pine Bunting" Some took photos, most left happy, and probably still are happy, that they had seen the bird. I wasn't sure when I got home and asked for help or reassurance. What I do know is that if the bird is a Corn Bunting then it was a bit different from the other Corn Buntings there. Fascinating discussion as I said !
Identifying anything from poor, hastily taken images can be a risky business, especially when it comes to difficult and/or easily confused species. Quite often, identifications are requested/expected from a single, blurred, distant image, complete with digital artifacts; equally worrying, some responders profess to be able to identify to species with certainty from these images! When it comes to Phylloscopus warblers for instance, good, sharp images showing primary projection, emarginations etc are often required to make a certain ID and even then it can be difficult. Arguably, your time would be better spent watching the bird, making notes & developing your field skills rather than blundering about trying to get photographs which might not come to anything anyway! The same problem exists with insects, where very few certain identifications to species can be made from images and even when they can, the images must be sharp, preferably macro shots taken from a variety of angles so that all features & combinations of features can be assessed. Don't kid yourself that photos can never lie!

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Old Wednesday 11th January 2017, 16:13   #39
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I take exception to the expression "Blundering About" ! That I do not do and I know most if not all of the regular British Species ! My problem is with some vagrants. I do know that photos can be misleading but there is no substitute for taking a photo then identifying the bird later if you are not sure. Personally I have no idea how people can go birdwatching without a camera, only that way do you have a record of what you have seen !
I have a sense of pre-digital camera birders not liking birders with cameras but I hope that I am wrong. Sorry but your comments really annoyed me !

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Identifying anything from poor, hastily taken images can be a risky business, especially when it comes to difficult and/or easily confused species. Quite often, identifications are requested/expected from a single, blurred, distant image, complete with digital artifacts; equally worrying, some responders profess to be able to identify to species with certainty from these images! When it comes to Phylloscopus warblers for instance, good, sharp images showing primary projection, emarginations etc are often required to make a certain ID and even then it can be difficult. Arguably, your time would be better spent watching the bird, making notes & developing your field skills rather than blundering about trying to get photographs which might not come to anything anyway! The same problem exists with insects, where very few certain identifications to species can be made from images and even when they can, the images must be sharp, preferably macro shots taken from a variety of angles so that all features & combinations of features can be assessed. Don't kid yourself that photos can never lie!

RB
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Old Wednesday 11th January 2017, 16:28   #40
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I take exception to the expression "Blundering About" ! That I do not do and I know most if not all of the regular British Species ! My problem is with some vagrants. I do know that photos can be misleading but there is no substitute for taking a photo then identifying the bird later if you are not sure. Personally I have no idea how people can go birdwatching without a camera, only that way do you have a record of what you have seen !
I have a sense of pre-digital camera birders not liking birders with cameras but I hope that I am wrong. Sorry but your comments really annoyed me !
Wow I'm finding this increasingly bizarre. Of course there is an alternative to taking a picture - put the time in, pure and simple. If you choose to twitch then read up on the bird beforehand.
Spend as much time as you can on a local patch to ensure you're confident with regular species and read a field guide in any spare time.
When you do twitch watch the bird for as long as you can or at least until you are satisfied with your identification. Watching for an hour or two then sodding off uncertain but not bothered because you have a photo - well, that's not twitching or even birding as I did it or would ever want to. I believe some people carry a camera but not a scope these days. There must be some point I'm missing but wtf????
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Old Wednesday 11th January 2017, 16:38   #41
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I take exception to the expression "Blundering About" ! That I do not do and I know most if not all of the regular British Species ! My problem is with some vagrants. I do know that photos can be misleading but there is no substitute for taking a photo then identifying the bird later if you are not sure. Personally I have no idea how people can go birdwatching without a camera, only that way do you have a record of what you have seen !
I have a sense of pre-digital camera birders not liking birders with cameras but I hope that I am wrong. Sorry but your comments really annoyed me !
Well, a notebook is usually sufficient to keep a record of what you have seen. I suspect most birders use a camera for ID to some degree these days. Some will only use it for particularly rare or tricky species (as they'll be confident that they've identified everything else correctly) and those with less experience or confidence will use them more. Nothing wrong with that.

Old Skool Birders certainly don't have a problem with those who use a camera - I think what people take issue with is people using a camera as a binocular substitute, and then asking for an ID. To the old school, that just isn't birding. The real opportunities to learn come from watching and studying birds, how they move, how they sound etc, as well as how they look. This process involves some IDs getting away, but develops a more knowledgeable and better field birder.

All of the genuine experts on this forum learned their craft through a pair of binoculars or a scope, and still use these as their primary birding tools.
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Old Wednesday 11th January 2017, 16:50   #42
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Wow I'm finding this increasingly bizarre. Of course there is an alternative to taking a picture - put the time in, pure and simple. If you choose to twitch then read up on the bird beforehand.
Spend as much time as you can on a local patch to ensure you're confident with regular species and read a field guide in any spare time.
When you do twitch watch the bird for as long as you can or at least until you are satisfied with your identification. Watching for an hour or two then sodding off uncertain but not bothered because you have a photo - well, that's not twitching or even birding as I did it or would ever want to. I believe some people carry a camera but not a scope these days. There must be some point I'm missing but wtf????
Dave
I too am finding this increasingly bizarre - but for a different reason. As I commented on another thread recently, although I have been birding for about 50 years - from the age of 10 or so - with variable intensity of course, and have hence lived through the pre-digital (and for most the pre-camera) age I do now carry a DSLR camera habitually - and bins - and a scope. I have great eyesight for a ROF, but now find it harder to capture small features convincingly in a small, fast-moving and/or flying bird. It seems my mind's 'shutter-speed' maximum is reducing with age. Also whereas for a lot of my earlier years I just didn't bother with some complex species groups or subspecies (gulls especially) as my allowable birding time was 'domestically-limited'.

Now however I have all the time in the world, and also the necessary financial resources to buy all the necessary cr@p - so a perfect day out in the field for me now also includes trying to get good enough photos to allow me to study some of the more detailed features in the comfort and warmth of my house. If I had just got into birding I have no doubt a camera would be as vital as bins and a scope, and I would carry all three on all but the most casual of outings.

Some do it seems try to substitute personal effort with a few images, but most supplement - me as well - and I think this supplementation is progress not regression.

.... for as long as I am fit enough to carry it all anyway!

Also - even back in the day some of the field notes and sketches I saw would not differentiate a Blackbird from a Common scoter.

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Old Wednesday 11th January 2017, 16:53   #43
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I believe some people carry a camera but not a scope these days. There must be some point I'm missing but wtf????
Dave
The weight of a 500mm f4!

Seriously, if you carry a big lens you aren't going to want to carry a scope as well (though for seawatching I grit my teeth and carry both anyway).

But apart from my interest in taking photos of different species of birds I'm still just like any other birder of 35 years experience. I watch them, listen to them, occasionally take notes on behaviour - but I will admit I leave plumage and structure to the camera as a general rule these days. My old notebooks do have incompetent sketches and slightly better descriptions in them.

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Old Wednesday 11th January 2017, 17:28   #44
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Well, enough said on all of this, far too much disagreement. We all bird in our own way and that is good. I shall not bother seeking ID advice on this forum again, pity but I'm obviously not a real birder as far as several people are concerned.
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Old Wednesday 11th January 2017, 17:47   #45
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Fascinating discussion, I only started birding about 6 years ago and have a view - if I haven't taken a photo of it I haven't seen it. I learned to identify birds by taking photos and going through pages of books to ID the species. Next time I saw the species I knew what it was (mostly !). I'm still not good enough to say "that's a Pine Bunting" in a flock of mixed buntings but I am good enough to say "that bird is different" ! Take a photo, go home, look up the books to try to ID it then if I'm really still not sure ask on Birdforum. That seems to bother some people and I'm not sure why as surely the idea is to pass on knowledge. What I find most annoying is a single word answer like "Chaffinch" with no explanation as to why, that is pretty useless to anyone. Back to my original post, about 2 dozen people all said "that's the Pine Bunting" Some took photos, most left happy, and probably still are happy, that they had seen the bird. I wasn't sure when I got home and asked for help or reassurance. What I do know is that if the bird is a Corn Bunting then it was a bit different from the other Corn Buntings there. Fascinating discussion as I said !
Fair play mate.

The thing about birding is that there is definitely a condescending attitude that prevails in some circles. Not saying it applies to posters on this thread.
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Old Wednesday 11th January 2017, 17:58   #46
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Now, now Farnborough John - you were old school when I was starting out so your stripes (or camera over scope preference) have been thoroughly earned.
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Old Wednesday 11th January 2017, 17:59   #47
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How many birders, especially those who travel abroad, can say that they've never used a camera to confirm an ID, I know I have many times and probably always will now.

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Old Wednesday 11th January 2017, 18:20   #48
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Now back to the original plot. Images of the Pine bunting at Venus Pool are now available to all on "Birdguides"

Pepe

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Old Wednesday 11th January 2017, 19:00   #49
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Personally I have no idea how people can go birdwatching without a camera, only that way do you have a record of what you have seen !
I usually carry a smallish digital camera with me, hence most pictures I take are purely record shots in terms of quality, and that's all they're supposed to be. Ideally, you should get an image and take field notes, that's the best way to be sure of an ID. Sometimes, a bird is too far away, or you can't get a picture for other reasons, so your notes have to be good enough to be sure anyway.


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The weight of a 500mm f4!

Seriously, if you carry a big lens you aren't going to want to carry a scope as well (though for seawatching I grit my teeth and carry both anyway).
Well, you could always get a donkey to carry all that extra equipment for you. Or a personal assistant...
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Old Wednesday 11th January 2017, 19:22   #50
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Well, you could always get a donkey to carry all that extra equipment for you. Or a personal assistant...
He's got a Marion! Not sure she would be too happy lugging that great lens about ...I suspect, and I admit it is pure conjecture, that she might just wrap it around John's neck :)
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