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yellow legged gull - to list or not to list?

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Old Tuesday 21st October 2003, 17:57   #1
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yellow legged gull - to list or not to list?

I know that the BOU has yet to add yellow-=legged gull to the British list....

So far I have also left it off my list but was wondering what others have done - should we all be listing it regardless or should we all wait for the BOU to finally add it (which surely they must do in time)?
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Old Tuesday 21st October 2003, 18:09   #2
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Personally I'd record it. I'm no strict disciplinarian when it comes to recording my sightings. As far as I'm concerned if I've seen it in what I class as 'wild' suroundings rather than at a reserve where there are bird collections, then it's fair game. I'll add it to my personal list.

If you're particularly ticking birds off the British list, then I guess you shouldn't.
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Old Tuesday 21st October 2003, 18:54   #3
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Well, they're not Herring Gulls and they're not LBB's so I should put it on your list. That's what I do and I think a lot of birding authorities outside of Britain seem to have the same idea.

I think the only reason to slavishly follow the BOU is if the point of you keeping a list is to compare it to other peoples' and you therefore wish to have something 'standard' as a reference. Otherwise I think you should (whilst noting expert views) make up your own mind.
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Old Tuesday 21st October 2003, 19:06   #4
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There are some who think, perhaps not unreasonably, that Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backs should be classed as the same species.

It depends on how big you want your list to be is suppose...

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Old Tuesday 21st October 2003, 19:16   #5
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Genetically, I gather there's a good case for lumping ALL the large white-headed gulls into one species, for which the valid Latin name would be Larus marinus. The DNA differences between them all are apparently pretty minuscule.

Of course Larus marinus means 'Sea Gull' . . . .

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Old Tuesday 21st October 2003, 19:19   #6
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The other option is to move to the Netherlands - the Dutch Records C'ttee has split them all into different species

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Old Tuesday 21st October 2003, 19:26   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by logos

It depends on how big you want your list to be is suppose...

Spud
I've got a fairly big British list spud and although it isn't as important to me nowadays as it used to be, I would never count a bird as a full species unless the BOU had split it.
Stroll on the Black-headed Wagtail split.

Quote:
Originally posted by Michael Frankis
The other option is to move to the Netherlands - the Dutch Records C'ttee has split them all into different species

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Old Tuesday 21st October 2003, 19:28   #8
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tick it! and bh wagtail!
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Old Tuesday 21st October 2003, 22:11   #9
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Well, as a general answer to the question... I would count it.

As said in a number of different ways above, your list is your own, so you can count what you want, but I would record it as part of the full species... pending split.

That said, would you do it differently CJ; i.e. would you wait for a post-split sighting before "counting" it?
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Old Tuesday 21st October 2003, 22:27   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by birdman
That said, would you do it differently CJ; i.e. would you wait for a post-split sighting before "counting" it?
Good God no, Birdman. Give me an "armchair tick" any day!
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Old Tuesday 21st October 2003, 22:37   #11
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Hi.
I agree with the comment made by IanF that if you have seen the bird in natural surroundings and are confident of your identification, then tick it. You are the person who saw it and it is not for any "committee" to tell you otherwise.

Here in Spain we have many birds that do not appear on the list approved by the Spanish Ornithological Society (SEO). Birds such as the Golden Bishop (Euplectes afer), Black-rumped Waxbill (Estrilda troglodytes) and Black-hooded Parakeet (Nandayus nenday), along with others, have been breeding successfully for years and now exist (in some cases) in very large numbers, proving themselves to be a sustainable species. However, these are not accepted by the SEO, as they prefer to label them as "escapes" or "exotics". What the hell, they are resident birds and as such should be added to the Spanish list.
The most rediculous thing is, in October 1999 my wife and I recorded two vagrant Chimney Swifts (Chaetura pelagica) in the south of Spain. At the same time another was recorded by an observer in the north of the country. These have been readily accepted on to the Spanish list although they were the first and (so far) only records of this species in Iberia.
I'm sure the BOU act in a similar manner, so why is there acceptance for a vagrant (in some cases only recorded once in 50 years) but other birds, despite being resident in large numbers and proving their sustainability fail to get acceptance.

I do not sit in an office or a committee room. I see the birds feeding and breeding and I "tick" them and I advise all of the clients on my bird tours to do the same.

Regards.

John.
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Old Tuesday 21st October 2003, 22:43   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Butler
Hi.

I'm sure the BOU act in a similar manner, so why is there acceptance for a vagrant (in some cases only recorded once in 50 years) but other birds, despite being resident in large numbers and proving their sustainability fail to get acceptance.

I think the origin of the species is an important criteria John. The Chimney Swifts got to Spain under their own steam and were therefore a natural occurrence. I suspect that the others you mentioned had more human-influence. That said, if a population of introduced birds proves itself to be viable and self-sustaining the BOU can, and has, added them to the British list (e.g. various pheasants, and wildfowl) as Category C birds and therefore tickable (for wont of a better word).
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Old Tuesday 21st October 2003, 23:26   #13
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IHi CJW.

I agree with you in essence but no-one has yet proved that these birds did not originally arrive here under their own steam.
Yes, they may be escapes/releases, but equally, due to our close proximity to Africa they could easily stem from genuine vagrants.
In October last year and in March this year I was the original "finder" of two different Yellow-billed Storks (Mycteria ibis) and an African Spoonbill (Platalea alba) in the Donana area. These originate from much further away in Africa that the Golden Bishops or waxbills but they have already been accepted by the SEO. In the case of the second YBS, within a month of my recording it.
Surley the case for original "vagrancy" by the bishops and waxbills would be strengthened by this.

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Old Wednesday 22nd October 2003, 07:02   #14
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I have seen a Yellow legged gull at my local reservoir sat on a bouy and was about for a while.So I have added it to my list, but put it to one side to see what the decision might be. Until it is decide one way or another it will be listed as seen.
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Old Wednesday 22nd October 2003, 09:42   #15
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I keep a record of recognisable forms when I see them - provided I know what I am looking for. So if I can racially identify a Dunlin or see a continental type Coal Tit I will note the fact. This adds value to the record and provides the possibility of an 'armchair tick' in the future.

If someone asks how many species I have seen I will compare with the BOU list to provide a common benchmark, so YLG would not be counted in the total.
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Old Wednesday 22nd October 2003, 12:41   #16
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As it is YOUR hobby, you can do it YOUR way. If you keep a personal lifelist or countrylist, you can tick what you want adhering to your own criteria. So, if you want to tick escapees or exotics, it's up to you in my opinion.

However, if you find it important to compare your tick numbers with others than you should adhere to the standards of the same authority. For Britain this should be the BOU, but on a worldwide scale you should use a worldwide authority like e.g. the Clements list. And of course you can make a combination list: you keep your personal list as it is, and you add or delete the lumps and splits when you want to make a comparison via an authority list.

And when tick numbers are very important to you, then move to the Netherlands as Michael Frankis suggested. But this highlights immediately the problems in comparing tick numbers, the Dutch Committee has more splits recognized than the British, and I think that also the American AOU will be different again. Adhering to these "official regulations" makes that you have no say in your PERSONAL list. But there are already enough authorities prescribing what you have to do with your life, it is nice to escape from them now and then in YOUR hobbies.

When you are visiting e.g. the Netherlands or France, are you then keeping to the BOU list, or are you then adhering to the local official list? Another dilemma.

For MY own list, when I see a bird in the wild, not being in a zoo or a collection, able to fly, and no people chasing it to get it back into its cage, then I tick it.

So I recently added the Rosy-faced Lovebird / Agapornis roseicollis to my PERSONAL list, when I saw two of them happily feeding and flying around on the coast in Dunbar, Scotland. Of course, they were not in my guide, but I made a good drawing and found them back in HBW. Horror to some people, I know, but it is MY list!

By the way, are House Sparrows and Starlings not tickable in the USA as they have been brought there by man not too long ago?

Regards,
Peter

P.S. Thanks for the blessing, CJW
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Old Wednesday 22nd October 2003, 13:00   #17
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Hi Peter,

One small comment to add there: the Clements list is a worldwide list, but it isn't an authority (despite being widely used) - it is a one-man compilation of his own ideas, useful but not with the blessing of any national or international ornithological organisation.

For an authoritative worldwide list, I understand the Howard and Moore list is supposed to be much better, but it isn't available on the internet.

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Old Wednesday 22nd October 2003, 13:10   #18
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Hi all,
Not only don't I include Yellow-legged Gull on my Irish list(despite seeing about 10 of them),I don't include it on my life list either(saw hundreds in Bulgaria,also a Caspian Gull,which isn't on my life list either).
Having said this,it is up to every individual to decide what they want to count on their own personal lists.I do,of course,take note of any Yellow-legged Gull(or Black Brant,smithsonianus Herring etc)that I see,as they are still notable sightings,however one classifies them!
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Old Wednesday 22nd October 2003, 13:26   #19
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Hi Harry,

the gulls in Bulgaria are (or are supposed to be!) cachinnans (Caspian), not michahellis (Yellow-legged)

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Old Wednesday 22nd October 2003, 13:39   #20
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Hi Michael,
While not being aware of your own experience with large gulls in Bulgaria(seem to remember that you were in the mountains,but think you also visited the coast?),but the vast majority of large gulls there were typical michahellis(only 1 cachinnans and 2-3 fuscus otherwise)!The ID was sound:even if I had made a mistake(though they looked like michahellis to me),Dick Forsman was leading the trip....
Obviously,whatever source that you got that information from is incorrect,though it may have been possible that michahellis has only recently colonised from the south?
Dave McAdams had a few photos from Bulgaria published in Lars Jonsson's YL/Caspian Gull article in "Alula" in early 98:these were michahellis.
I think that cachinnans is primarily a winter visitor from Romania,and perhaps a scarce(?) breeding bird?I know that they overlap in distribution somewhere in the Balkans,with mich breeding on cliff faces and buildings and cach breeding on islands in deltas and lakes.
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Old Wednesday 22nd October 2003, 13:39   #21
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Any idea then where we can get a look at this 'Howard and Moore' list, Michael or anyone else? First I've heard of it, I'm ashamed to say...
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Old Wednesday 22nd October 2003, 13:51   #22
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Hi Harry,

The ones I saw were over 300 miles inland along the Danube in northwest Bulgaria, early autumn, so almost certainly wintering birds arrived from Romania (several of them were actually in Romania, on the far side of the Danube!) - they certainly had the rakish slender heads typical of cachinnans, and weren't as dark grey as UK michahellis. Never went to the coast, guess that explains why we got different birds.

Whether there's any intermediates / hybrids in the area, I wouldn't feel confident to pick out.

Michael

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Old Wednesday 22nd October 2003, 13:56   #23
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Hi Charles,

The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World

Hardback 1039pp., 3rd edition; edited by Edward C Dickinson. 2003.

Publishers: Christopher Helm / A&C Black, London (probably issued simultaneously in the US too, perhaps by Princeton?)

ISBN 0-7136-6536-X

The bad news: GBP 60

Review in British Birds 96: 532-533.

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Old Wednesday 22nd October 2003, 14:04   #24
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Hi Michael,
That makes sense,especially as Caspian tends to be a freshwater bird,given the choice!
I don't know if there are any convincing reports of intermediate/hybrid mich x cach from Bulgaria:if not,then this would indicate that they behave as good "species"(but what about the relationship between cachinnans,barabensis and heuglini,not to mention whether or not michahellis is sufficiently reproductively isolated from argentatus/argenteus or graellsii?).
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Old Wednesday 22nd October 2003, 14:13   #25
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Ah yes-- I have heard of it, but avoided pursuing it, thinking I was already inundated by Clements, and Monroe & Sibley. 60 pounds sterling is 11,000 yen at the moment, pretty steep indeed.

Thank you and sorry for interrupting the cachinnans vs. michahelllis discussion, which I am also avoiding, as I am already totally convinced as to what I can tick here. I have listed cachinnans mongolicus, heuglini taimyrensis, vegae and I don't want to be confused by the facts...
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