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Self found rules: Local wintering/breeding species at "known sites"

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Old Tuesday 27th March 2018, 12:24   #1
David Roche
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Self found rules: Local wintering/breeding species at "known sites"

Greetings all

Apologies if this has been covered before (I did have quick search through the Forums but couldn't find anything) but I would be interested to seek others opinions on a few scenarios, regarding what, under the punkbirder rules punkbirder.webs.com/selffoundrules.htm qualify as rules for scarce wintering or breeding species.

Corncrake: The whole of the Hebrides is counted as a known site for Corncrake, and therefore any birds "found" there are already known about, so wouldn't count as a find. Fair enough, as there is always the chance of finding a migrant bird on the coast. What then for other localized species which don't have the same "out of range" finding potential, e.g?

Golden Eagle: A species which, according to the rules, needs to be found away from a known site for it to count as a find. How does one quantify a "known site" for a bird like Golden Eagle? If the whole of the Hebrides are excluded as a known site for Corncrake does one to have to exclude the whole of the Scottish highlands and Western Isles?

A couple of other interesting examples...

Bittern: Short of finding one in a random, out of place location, I think that this is an increasingly difficult one to legitimately count. Given its population increase and breeding expansion, there seem to be very few sites that are not now "known". Technically speaking, its one that I probably can't count, as any I have found have been at known breeding or wintering sites. What have others done for this one?

Slavonian Grebe: I cant' imagine anyone would disagree with this, but its still an interesting scenario, and another species which, according to the rules, needs to be found away from a "known site" for it to count as a find. If you are birding on the Norfolk coast and find a Slavonian Grebe offshore from Holme or Holkham, does that count as a "find" (personally I think it does) or is North Norfolk coast a "known wintering site" for Slav grebes and therefore not countable?

To me all of the other rules make sense (re-finds, multiple observers etc) but these seem perhaps more subject to your own personal feelings as to what does and doesn't count. At the end of the day, its your own list and some will say you can count what you like, but in the interest of balance and a level field its always good to try and be consistent.
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Old Tuesday 27th March 2018, 12:55   #2
Larry Sweetland
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Corncrake: The whole of the Hebrides is counted as a known site for Corncrake, and therefore any birds "found" there are already known about, so wouldn't count as a find. Fair enough, as there is always the chance of finding a migrant bird on the coast. What then for other localized species which don't have the same "out of range" finding potential, e.g?
ah...but what if you found a Corncrake in the middle of a patch of woodland on Skye? As unexpected and unlikely perhaps as jamming a migrant on the English coast?
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Old Tuesday 27th March 2018, 13:33   #3
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Greetings all

Apologies if this has been covered before (I did have quick search through the Forums but couldn't find anything) but I would be interested to seek others opinions on a few scenarios, regarding what, under the punkbirder rules punkbirder.webs.com/selffoundrules.htm qualify as rules for scarce wintering or breeding species.

Corncrake: The whole of the Hebrides is counted as a known site for Corncrake, and therefore any birds "found" there are already known about, so wouldn't count as a find. Fair enough, as there is always the chance of finding a migrant bird on the coast. What then for other localized species which don't have the same "out of range" finding potential, e.g?

Golden Eagle: A species which, according to the rules, needs to be found away from a known site for it to count as a find. How does one quantify a "known site" for a bird like Golden Eagle? If the whole of the Hebrides are excluded as a known site for Corncrake does one to have to exclude the whole of the Scottish highlands and Western Isles?

A couple of other interesting examples...

Bittern: Short of finding one in a random, out of place location, I think that this is an increasingly difficult one to legitimately count. Given its population increase and breeding expansion, there seem to be very few sites that are not now "known". Technically speaking, its one that I probably can't count, as any I have found have been at known breeding or wintering sites. What have others done for this one?

Slavonian Grebe: I cant' imagine anyone would disagree with this, but its still an interesting scenario, and another species which, according to the rules, needs to be found away from a "known site" for it to count as a find. If you are birding on the Norfolk coast and find a Slavonian Grebe offshore from Holme or Holkham, does that count as a "find" (personally I think it does) or is North Norfolk coast a "known wintering site" for Slav grebes and therefore not countable?

To me all of the other rules make sense (re-finds, multiple observers etc) but these seem perhaps more subject to your own personal feelings as to what does and doesn't count. At the end of the day, its your own list and some will say you can count what you like, but in the interest of balance and a level field its always good to try and be consistent.
I've never bothered with this "away from known sites" stuff for species considered scarce or rare breeders, thinking "what would be the point?". In Ireland, we get roseate terns breeding on the east coast. They roost on a variety of beaches up and down that coast. If I go to the beach and I see a roseate tern...I don't count it? What if it's a fresh, unringed juv in Autumn? It's brand new to the planet? Do I not tick it?

Don't worry about the breeders. There's more than enough vagrants to focus on.

Owen
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Old Tuesday 27th March 2018, 13:50   #4
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Some birds don't lend themselves to self-found do they. Scarce breeders, predictable wintering areas etc. in particular.

For the Corncrakes, I would say the Hebrides is their breeding range, if you find one in the Hebrides, then that's good. I don't think you are expected to find new breeding ranges for birds. If you find one in a field that's publicised as an exact place to go and see them, then not so good. Or Owen's example above, coast ok, exact breeding ground location not so good.

A few birds are surprisingly hard to "find", Bittern, Water Pipit is another good example, because every wintering site/sighting gets heavily publicised.

I reckon a self found list should purely consist of rare finds. Get rid of all the common, local and scarce species... Mine is now 19 lol, and some of them are on the commoner side of rare. Second thoughts, perhaps not.
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Old Tuesday 27th March 2018, 13:59   #5
David Roche
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I've never bothered with this "away from known sites" stuff for species considered scarce or rare breeders, thinking "what would be the point?". In Ireland, we get roseate terns breeding on the east coast. They roost on a variety of beaches up and down that coast. If I go to the beach and I see a roseate tern...I don't count it? What if it's a fresh, unringed juv in Autumn? It's brand new to the planet? Do I not tick it?

Don't worry about the breeders. There's more than enough vagrants to focus on.

Owen
Sounds sensible to me.
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Old Tuesday 27th March 2018, 14:42   #6
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So glad to see some common sense breaking out, I've been wondering all day how one is supposed to self-find a Robin in the British Isles given they are everywhere so its impossible to get out of their known range.

I still think a better idea would be to forget the self-found thing altogether and just enjoy the birds.

John
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Old Tuesday 27th March 2018, 15:26   #7
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Yes self found scarce migrants on the coast (or from) are always of interest, where would we be, if we weren't made aware of what's turning up at Dunge/Portland in Spring or Flamborough/Spurn in the Fall.

I think that if one were to find say a Pied Fly at Wells...no big deal! However if that was found in a Norwich park then perhaps greater kudos to the finder?

I think it's all about the context in where scarce migrants are found, take Walthamstow Reservoirs N.E.London...Little Bunting, Serin and Bluethroat in the last few weeks, if found on the coast....same or less kudos?

For my money...the guy that found the Grey-Cheeked Thrush in London Herts. whilst looking for extremely scarce Marsh Tits (don't know if he found any of the latter), that record imo is of far greater relevance (certainly to him), than say one found on Scillies/Shetland. Not to detract from those that are found offshore, accepting that islands "concentrate", although always a commendable find, I believe that mainland finds have greater value than offshore. All self-found...but to the finder and the location, perhaps only he or she can make a judgement as to it's worth...and if they don't, I'm sure there are plenty that will.

Cheers
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Old Tuesday 27th March 2018, 15:44   #8
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Yes self found scarce migrants on the coast (or from) are always of interest, where would we be, if we weren't made aware of what's turning up at Dunge/Portland in Spring or Flamborough/Spurn in the Fall.

I think that if one were to find say a Pied Fly at Wells...no big deal! However if that was found in a Norwich park then perhaps greater kudos to the finder?

I think it's all about the context in where scarce migrants are found, take Walthamstow Reservoirs N.E.London...Little Bunting, Serin and Bluethroat in the last few weeks, if found on the coast....same or less kudos?



Cheers

Likewise in many parts of Notts along with Wood Warbler.


A
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Old Tuesday 27th March 2018, 15:54   #9
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Likewise in many parts of Notts along with Wood Warbler.
A
I've only ever found a single Wood Warbler locally (Epping Forest with a tit flock during August) in more years than I care to mention, however in Central London Parks, I've had 6 in the last 18 years (a group of 4 in 2003, and they stayed for a week, came in with 2 Pied Flys which had departed the following day) concentration is the name of the game.
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Old Tuesday 27th March 2018, 16:19   #10
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One advantage of birding in Bedfordshire is that virtually any scarce species is not going to be at a regular site and will therefore be ‘self-found’
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Old Friday 30th March 2018, 07:41   #11
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So glad to see some common sense breaking out, I've been wondering all day how one is supposed to self-find a Robin in the British Isles given they are everywhere so its impossible to get out of their known range.

I still think a better idea would be to forget the self-found thing altogether and just enjoy the birds.

John
I can only echo this thought wholeheartedly - particularly the last sentence!

Speaking as someone whose so-called, in brackets and inverted commas self-found list contains a high percentage of tasty morsels that I'm not going to admit to here, I find this whole concept of 'self-find listing' a bit disturbing altogether. If it detracts from your enjoyment of birding in any way, it's flawed, in my opinion. I recently heard of a self-found lister who didn't travel five miles to see a Siberian Accentor because he only wanted to find one himself - as a bird-lover I would find it extremely difficult to justify that kind of attitude personally?

One of my best friends is often saying to me 'I just found an Iceland Gull...' or 'I just found a Hawfinch...' The egoic implications for 'self-finding' are possibly unavoidable in some ways, but it might help to mix up the verb in the sentence by using alternatives such as 'I just stumbled across' or 'I just bumped into' or even, what's wrong with a simple 'I just saw an Iceland Gull?' I agree with another of the posts above, that it's probably best just to include rarities as self-founds, everything else is far too complicated, but as always each to their own... Personally I just follow the back of the Shell Guide to the Birds of Britain and Ireland as my target for 'finds' and just like the old Saturday evening Generation Game used to give everyone the cuddly toy to remember so they wouldn't go home empty-handed, the Shell Guide gives every one Little Egret to start the ball rolling.
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Old Friday 30th March 2018, 08:11   #12
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I can only echo this thought wholeheartedly - particularly the last sentence!

Speaking as someone whose so-called, in brackets and inverted commas self-found list contains a high percentage of tasty morsels that I'm not going to admit to here, I find this whole concept of 'self-find listing' a bit disturbing altogether.
Just in case it was aimed at moi We all get pleasure from Birding, and irrespective of from, or wherever you derive that pleasure, it matters not one hoot! One might be forgiven for thinking that the great Birding "enmity" is driven by adding to the list, so that one can achieve some sort of one up-man ship over contemporaries, that's never been a driver for me. However..."hunting and finding" has always been my holy grail...particularly if it's in the bricks and mortar of the urban core.....each to their own....ahh you must excuse me, as my "tinkling" Goldfinches have just arrived at the feeders...now where's that camera.
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Old Friday 30th March 2018, 10:03   #13
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May I propose the permanent removal of the idiotic (and linguistically awkward) term "self found" and replace it with the term "kudos list".

"Self finding" a black winged stilt in the UK is clearly preposterous because it's 100% about luck and 0% about birding skill.

"Kudos" finding would be about identifying tricky and unusual birds. So a 1w Thayer's Gull and an adult Amur's falcon are high kudos; a male marsh warbler is mid-kudos; and an adult great reed warbler is low(ish) kudos. (I can't be ar$ed thinking through the detail, but I hope this is sufficient to start a discussion.)

Peter

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Old Friday 30th March 2018, 10:34   #14
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I recently heard of a self-found lister who didn't travel five miles to see a Siberian Accentor because he only wanted to find one himself - as a bird-lover I would find it extremely difficult to justify that kind of attitude personally?
I've done similar to that! perhaps not so extreme, but didn't go to Red-flanked Bluetail or Brown Shrike within 20 miles of home in Hampshire. Both would have been "lifers". Opting instead to wait, and hopefully see one in their natural range in the future.

I don't think it is "self-found" which drives me, more about just not wanting to be any part of the local twitching pyramid system! If you want to see people not enjoying their birding, check out some of the threads around rarities / twitches at Need's Ore! or the drip feeding of info around the Red-flanked Bluetail. I'm sure most other counties have similar. I have no intention of being a slave to my hobby, or depending on news to eventually filter thru to me when it is deemed my turn to be given the details. Plus as these sites are sensitive, they don't need me adding to the volume.

So instead, of looking for a group of birders looking at a Red-Flanked Bluetail, I spent three days searching in forests in Finland, before finding one close to a Greenish Warbler, and a Red-breasted Flycatcher. some people would think that was madness compared to a three hour day trip, 20 miles away. I can confirm it was an incredibly memorable day.

Both approaches are fine, both would appear slightly mad to the uninitiated. You can even do a bit of both.
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Old Friday 30th March 2018, 11:39   #15
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I've done similar to that! perhaps not so extreme, but didn't go to Red-flanked Bluetail or Brown Shrike within 20 miles of home in Hampshire. Both would have been "lifers". Opting instead to wait, and hopefully see one in their natural range in the future.

I don't think it is "self-found" which drives me, more about just not wanting to be any part of the local twitching pyramid system! If you want to see people not enjoying their birding, check out some of the threads around rarities / twitches at Need's Ore! or the drip feeding of info around the Red-flanked Bluetail. I'm sure most other counties have similar. I have no intention of being a slave to my hobby, or depending on news to eventually filter thru to me when it is deemed my turn to be given the details. Plus as these sites are sensitive, they don't need me adding to the volume.

So instead, of looking for a group of birders looking at a Red-Flanked Bluetail, I

spent three days searching in forests in Finland, before finding one close to a Greenish Warbler, and a Red-breasted Flycatcher. some people would think that was madness compared to a three hour day trip, 20 miles away. I can confirm it was an incredibly memorable day.

Both approaches are fine, both would appear slightly mad to the uninitiated. You can even do a bit of both.
Interesting!....I think I would have tried for those birds close to hand, and have empathy for your forays into the Finnish Woods with the resulting "finds", understood completely! However I think I'd have drawn the line at "thrashing" about in a Wood that may have held bears? As I had an experience many years ago in an Oregon Wood looking for Varied Thrush, never found the latter at the time, and never laid eyes on "whatever it was" that made an enormous "crash" just behind me on the darkened path. A tactical withdrawal ensued with tripod legs fully extended over my shoulder, as I hastened my pace with "occasional" looks behind as I made for the hire car.
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Old Saturday 31st March 2018, 07:23   #16
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[quote=KenM;3697944]Just in case it was aimed at moi

No, not at all Ken. Just a general observation. FWIW I like your posts a lot and you are one of many people on here that I'd love to have a couple of pints and a chat about birds with.
Good birding.
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Old Saturday 31st March 2018, 07:28   #17
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[quote=Britseye;3698426]
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Just in case it was aimed at moi

you are one of many people on here that I'd love to have a couple of pints and a chat about birds with.
.
And by the way, JSB is another, although why do I get the impression it wouldn't be pints but fine wine in his case! And I may be wrong but I doubt he'll meet me in a pub where live football is showing!
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Old Saturday 31st March 2018, 08:45   #18
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......I recognise a "free spirit" when I see one Britseye and you're of that ilk. Likewise I too enjoy you're posts, much more intricately weaved than my blunt offerings.....it was two pints wasn't it?
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Old Saturday 31st March 2018, 09:00   #19
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[quote=Britseye;3698428]
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And by the way, JSB is another, although why do I get the impression it wouldn't be pints but fine wine in his case! And I may be wrong but I doubt he'll meet me in a pub where live football is showing!
A pint (real ale) or fine wine would be good. I'll look forward to it.
But:
When I were a lad growing up in Manchester, I used to go to watch MU at Old Trafford regularly - Bobby Charlton, Georgie Best and many other great names were the beginning of a life-long passion, so live football would be perfect.

The notion of stereotyping BF members is interesting. I think it's not difficult to get a fairly full picture of some BF regulars (like Paul Chapman, Pariah, etc). Andy Adcock (I think) has me residing in a Home Counties estate/castle/manor house divorced from UK reality.

I think I may start a thread on this (but after a pint).....

Peter
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Old Saturday 31st March 2018, 09:17   #20
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Its nice to put out a post about the first Bittern, Goldeneye, Smew of the winter at a known wintering site. Likewise a roosting Nightjar at a site, that its only been recorded at once before 20 odd years ago before the area was built up.
It is nice to see unusual birds on my local patch, but sometimes I can't be bothered to just cross that road to see one! Like the Black Necked Grebe a couple of weeks ago. I did eventually cross the road after it stayed 4 days..
I just enjoy the seasonal changes in one particular area and like to welcome back the birds for another year!
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Old Tuesday 3rd April 2018, 12:29   #21
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Perhaps a more interesting question would be to ask who found who?

If I am sitting at home looking out into my garden and (hypothetically, and occasionally in my dreams) something mega hops up onto the fence then proceeds to gorge itself on the feeders/bird table or whatever, is that a self found bird? After all I have done nothing, except put out a few morsels, which I do as a matter of course for the local residents, so would it not be a case that the bird has found me rather than the other way around?

Just because I may be able to identify it without recourse to internet posts or having to ask a birding friend unlike some of the recent rarities that have turned up in non birders gardens still doesn't mean that I "found" the bird. I have only put a name to it. On the other hand what if I could not ID it does the person who can claim a "self-found".
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Old Tuesday 3rd April 2018, 19:59   #22
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[quote=Paul Longland;3699841]Perhaps a more interesting question would be to ask who found who?

Yes, do go on...

would it not be a case that the bird has found me rather than the other way around?

Absolutely...
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