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Controversial Glaucous-winged Gull BBRC decision (1 Viewer)

Hi Peter,

Just curious to know where BBRC's decision on this bird is shown as their WIP page indicates that it is still in circulation?



Apparently accepted at Beddington but still "in circulation" at other sites. Would be interested to hear the reasoning behind it's acceptance...

Hi Chris,

So it has - must have missed that last last night. Since it is coded as same bird for other sites then by inference one would also expect it to be accepted at those sites too.

I must admit I am relieved to have seen the earlier bird in Wales and am also curious to hear the rationale for this bird's acceptance given the hybrid issues for this species.


This bird has also been claimed from other sites including Queen Mother Reservoir, Calvert, Willen Lake, Stewartby, Ware Tip and Rainham Marsh.
I must admit I'm very surprised by this decision. Looks very little like one compared to the many I've seen in Japan and Alaska. Ruling out the very common and well documented hybrids must be virtually impossible. It will be interesting to see how the decision of the ten 'wise men' stacks up in the final analysis!


Hi Pete et al,
I agree it is not a classic. There is a good case I think for it being a small female GWG but with such extensive hyrbidisation going on, how we can tell the difference between an aytpically small female or a bird displaying 'structural anomalies' from hybridisation. It's subjective I guess.

I do think that there is a general consensus that it is either a GWG or a GWG hybrid and do 'agree' with the BBRC decision as it is their job to make a choice in a dilemma. In a dilemma both options are equally unsatisfactory so it doesn't matter which one you choose. However the fact remains that it is a dilemma and those who don't have to make a choice are not required to.

It has rightly been pointed out to me that I have been inaccurately referring to the hyrbid option as a west coast hybrid when in fact it could be of asian origin too. Anyway, a GWG or a GWG hybrid- it's a 'tick' for me at Beddington -never seen one of them before- a great bird. Also Johnny keeps the lists at Beddington based on the official BBRC decisions so that bird is going on my official list irrespective of me. It appears I don't have a choice.
Also Johnny keeps the lists at Beddington based on the official BBRC decisions so that bird is going on my official list irrespective of me. It appears I don't have a choice.

Pete A, by the same logic do you believe all previous decisions to be "correct"? and unworthy of challenge? Surely there are many precedents for reviews and ultimately rejections of previously "acceptable" records? Moustached Warbler the most recent high profile example. I suggest that if you don't believe it was identifiable as a GWG then you don't count it - maybe you'll be proved right in the longer term....

cheers, alan
I may have it wrong....but is acceptance not based on minority rule....ie. 8 in favour 2 against....out it goes?

Surely in this 'transparent' age that we now live in, BBRC could give a % rate for and against any contentious submissions...then the rank and file would at least know where they stand.

just a thought!
Hi Ken and Alan,
I agree Ken that transparancy is a good idea. Also harnessing a wider opinion so that any decisions are more representative.
Alan- I don't mean that. If new evidence comes to light that shifts this Beddington bird one way or another than the situation is moved out of a dilemma and a satisfactory conclusion can be made. The thing about this Beddington bird is that I think both cases are more or less equal- it could be a light structured, relatively fine billed female GWG or the non classic structure could point towards 'impurities' from hyrbidisation. New evidence/ arguments may come to light that shift things in favour of one over the other.
Interestingly if you look at the WIP file now it again shows the bird as in circulation and not as Accepted - possibly an error that it was shown as accepted in the first place that has now been rectified.

I must admit I agree with Alan Lewis that while I send records to BBRC I certainly don't count it or not based on their acceptance. Mistakes like the Donmouth Sandplover (I never thought that was a Greater, nor did a number of other people), and rejection of southern ocean skuas as being funny Bonxies proves that they are fallible. I am not saying I am infallible, far from it, but at least I was there and saw the bird in question. Also as we know knowledge progresses with time so a bird rejected or accepted twenty years ago may be reassessed in the light of new facts. While I can see that having BBRC acceptance gives a benchmark for comparative purposes I personally prefer to ensure that I have identified it myself. Not that I am suggesting that Peter doesn't, but certainly others don't seem to care if they identified it or not as long as someone did. I also wouldn't like whether I can count a bird or not to rest with someone else if they are submitting the record. Just because people can find and identify a bird correctly doesn't mean that they can describe it adequately for recording purposes so why be a hostage to that.
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