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Is Twitching Over

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Old Saturday 19th November 2011, 02:25   #1
Songkhran
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Is Twitching Over

With the many hoaxes that are now going around, rare birds ID'ed via photographs rather than in the field, instantaneous information and transport is the modern phenomenum of twitching drawing to a close?

When will rare bird news be ignored because of the amount of phoney information.

If twitching does carry on, how will it progress from ?

If it is finished will more of us go back to 'golden age' birding,
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Old Saturday 19th November 2011, 08:34   #2
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Golden Age ? - when was that? Observers book of Birds and leaky old bins from Dixons - no thanks!!
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Old Saturday 19th November 2011, 08:43   #3
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I think if anything some would argue that the problem is twitching is more popular than ever because its all to easy to find out whats where and just chase around after them even if you dont know how to ID what it is you are chasing rather than actually going out birding trying to find your own birds and learn from the bottom up.

Not saying i'm not guilty myself at times especially of photographing birds to confirm ID later rather than taking a better look at the time.
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Old Saturday 19th November 2011, 08:43   #4
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Originally Posted by Pomskua View Post
With the many hoaxes that are now going around, rare birds ID'ed via photographs rather than in the field, instantaneous information and transport is the modern phenomenum of twitching drawing to a close?

When will rare bird news be ignored because of the amount of phoney information.

If twitching does carry on, how will it progress from ?

If it is finished will more of us go back to 'golden age' birding,
I thought Nancy's was closed?
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Old Saturday 19th November 2011, 15:55   #5
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Are hoaxes really so prevalent in Britain that birders can't bird alerts and such? I doubt it.

I always figure that hoaxes and misidentifications are part of twitching; If you chase up every rarity you need to account for these factors. After all, think of how much money is spent twitching legitimate birds that the twitcher than misses (the "You should have been here five minutes ago" effect). Presumably this happens to everyone at a fairly regular rate, but people still twitch.
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Old Saturday 19th November 2011, 16:00   #6
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Just to elaborate pretty sure 2011 will be remembered for some fantastic birds but politically maybe it will be seen as the year that twitching came under attack - from aggressive in your face suppression and increasingly intricate hoaxes and the Eye-browed Thrush incident will be seen as twitching's sept 11th.

Hoaxers seem to be winning at the moment, stringing people along more and more and seem like quite an anarchic force to me, can see record committees being duped more often and their intergrity called into question. Twitching will go on and presumably more people will get involved just think it is losing any kind of authenticity. Don't twitch myself (how many times do you hear that on BF!) so I'm pretty ambivalent to it all but my friends do and can see they derive pleasure from it although it also seems increasingly stressful for them. Not sure what I meant about instant transport - was pretty spaced out last night ; - )

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Old Saturday 19th November 2011, 16:04   #7
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Originally Posted by Pomskua View Post
Just to elaborate pretty sure 2011 will be remembered for some fantastic birds but politically maybe it will be seen as the year that twitching came under attack - from aggressive in your face suppression and increasingly intricate hoaxes and the Eye-browed Thrush incident will be seen as twitching's sept 11th.
Hoaxes, dodgy records and suppressed birds were equally frequent inprevious decades, eg the 80s, and it didn't kill off twitching - can't see it happening now. Petrol prices more likely to dampen things to a degree, but kill it off, na not very likely.

In the long run of things, the Eye-browed will just be another in the line of many, from stuffed Night Herons to cowpat nighthawks.
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Old Saturday 19th November 2011, 16:13   #8
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Yeah true just can't imagine how the stories behind these megas are going to get any more surreal!
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Old Saturday 19th November 2011, 16:20   #9
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There's nothing new in all this - just think about the Hastings rarities, for example - in fact, I reckon phoney records are winkled out far more effectively these days, by and large, and technology helps by providing a larger, immediate "jury" in many cases! Any decline in twitching is more related to the ageing birder population than anything more sinister imho.
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Old Saturday 19th November 2011, 18:05   #10
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I thought Nancy's was closed?
More's the pity.
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Old Saturday 19th November 2011, 21:33   #11
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Has anyone worked out if modern hoaxing peculiar to any age group? 20-30 etc. Is it attributable to the folly of yoof?

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Old Sunday 20th November 2011, 00:45   #12
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Has anyone worked out if modern hoaxing peculiar to any age group? 20-30 etc. Is it attributable to the folly of yoof?

Twite.
Why hoax in the first place? Everyone makes mistakes and you would think in the modern age of communication, this would be reduced....and it is...to a point. One thing remains to this day (and this makes birding so exciting) is that no one has ever found a true (be honest, local recorders and committees) answer to age-old problem of single-observer records. I am not going to go into deep detail here but I had a very good UK bird that I submitted a record for and although I admit I did not get all the salient points for acceptance, I know what I saw. I have no problem with this because there HAS to be a system but a recent example I know of has cast a light on the sordid subject of committees assessing on the basis of who the person is. Again, there has to be a limit but it opens up so many possibilities about personal agendas on one hand but...

...worse, how many records have been and will continue to be rejected on the wrong basis?

The question is not so much about the hoaxers but to get a balance, should it be directed at the committees too. On a national level, things are pretty much as they should be but I am now profoundly worried about local situations that potentially put too many referees in a position of trust where the bird may already be familiar to the observer under different circumstances. I am not saying the example I know of is wrong but surely, it outlines a situation with a local rarity that has gone too far beyond logic?
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Old Sunday 20th November 2011, 00:57   #13
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There's nothing new in all this - just think about the Hastings rarities, for example - in fact, I reckon phoney records are winkled out far more effectively these days, by and large, and technology helps by providing a larger, immediate "jury" in many cases! Any decline in twitching is more related to the ageing birder population than anything more sinister imho.
I am not sure I agree (see bold). In the real world or in the ideal world? Of course there have been a few examples where a rarity report has been discounted by more observers (or arguably, with the Minsmere curlew, by science [albeit in retrospect]). Nevertheless, single-observer (and many of them, honest) are largely going to be rejected. I see all this as a positive thing because whilst going out to find a 'found bird' is getting prohibitively expensive, going out and finding your own birds is more attainable now than it ever was.

We can't really talk about age in this context simply because we are looking at a world in economic gloom but many of the people I know are much younger than me but are around the same age I was when I kicked my birding obsession into a higher gear. OK, I kept my youthful interest in nature going throughout my life but the classic born-again naturalist is 30+ (sadly not teenagers) hence a problem the RSPB has spent years trying to deal with.

BTW, I am looking at cheap Britten Norman Islanders for twitching on Scilly, the Shetlands and the Orkneys. The only trouble is, I can't decide where to base it...oh, and I haven't got a PPL.
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Old Sunday 20th November 2011, 19:40   #14
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If the 'Eye-Browed Thrush' is anything to go by, it was pretty obvious it was a hoax to start with.

The internet has perhaps encouraged photos to be stolen (as per the recent Eagle, Short-Toed I think it was). However, it has also allowed such photos to be easily proved as being a hoax.

The internet has certainly encouraged me to get out more, as its a great way to find out about different sites and what has been seen recently. Petrol prices are a killer though and it restricts how far I will travel.
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Old Sunday 20th November 2011, 20:43   #15
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I think new bird watchers have a knee jerk reaction to seeing certain things.

What is just a Warbler, turns out to be a Cettis, what is just a GSW, is a LSW.

It's bloody brilliant that bird watching is so big like it seems to be now, but rose tinted goggles turn a normal into a rarity, and a rarity into a mega.

Twitching is certainly alive, but maybe needs the odd nudge in the right direcition.
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Old Sunday 20th November 2011, 20:57   #16
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Is the modern phenomenon of twitching drawing to a close?
I do hope not.

dave...
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Old Tuesday 22nd November 2011, 21:22   #17
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Twitching drawing to a close - you're having a laugh......

Hoaxes, now let me see, Green Heron in Devon (I still think that was a deliberate decoy away from the Naumann's Thrush that was being sniffed out in Essex);Sooty Tern in Merseyside (I set off for that). There have been others, thankfully I've forgotten them. Was I put off by them? No, not for a minute.

Am I careful about accepting gen at face value? Not really - though I did ring the RBA office about the Stafford Belted Kingfisher - but it was the First of April!

The modern twitchers I feel sorry for are the ones without the nerve to go overnight, so never get either a full day's birding or a stress-free drive instead of a panic-stricken rush after they've waited for news - there are still such things as Sparrowhawks.....

Twitching is alive and well and with the increase in petrol prices, once again becoming a game for teams and a social occasion. Its an ill wind.....

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