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.