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Stringing v Supression (1 Viewer)

Pete Mella

Getting there...
I'm enjoying the "ticking rules" thread and I thought I'd pose another hypothetical birding quandry.

Say you're a newish birder and you're fairly confident you see a very rare bird while on your travels. However, despite your confidence, your inexperience makes you start to have nagging doubts on your ID. You haven't got a camera on you to take a picture of it, and you haven't got any more experienced birding mates you can call upon to come and check it out for you.

You're unsure whether to put the news out, as if you turn out to be wrong you risk being labelled a stringer and may get people travelling miles for nothing.

But also you don't want to NOT put the news out, as you don't want to deny people the chance to see a rarity.

What would you do? Which is the worse crime - potentially stringing a rarity you'd IDed wrong, or supressing a rarity you IDed correctly?
 

username

Well-known member
In 'that' position i would get in touch with local birding 'club/organization' and describe what i'd seen...then leave it to 'them' and listen to advice...[first step anyway]...!
 

nickderry

C'est pas ma faute, je suis anglais.
I'd put the news out as possible/probable depending on how sure I was, then it's up to the individual to take the risk whether they come along and look for it or not.
 

Enji

Well-known member
I'd put the news out, give a detailed description of what I saw, but specify that I'm not entirely certain. Then people can decide if they want to take the risk of going...
 

kristoffer

Used Register
It is dangerous to alert ppl on birds you are not 100% sure about. Even if you say that you are not sure, some more experienced birders can be pretty harsh to newbies and in some cases it can generate quiet nasty responses. Personaly I always check uncertain IDs on birdforum before i alert anyone on the Swedish birdingsites. ;)
 

Mark Lew1s

My real name is Mark Lewis
Generally birders will be grateful to know that there may be something around, so I reckon it's always worth reporting possibles. It's useful to add details about what features you've seen on the bird that make you believe that it is a rarity....that gives others a bit more to go on as well. No one will really begrudge a genuine mistake being made....stringing is something completely different, however.....I think Andrew hit the nail on the head with 'Delusional'.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
If you are very concerned about the id, then you could always try contacting a better birder that you know and get his opinion.

I have always considered the stringing as just another risk of twitching, just like a bird disappearing before you arrive. Even a bird which has been scrutinized for days could turn out to be something else (like the "surf knot" that was in San Diego this past fall). I think more people will be annoyed if it was something good and it was reported too late.
 

Mike Shurmer

Well-known member
I think that you have to put the news out with the caveat of 'possible' or 'observer is unsure of ID'. It would be nice to double check with someone, but for a one day rarity this can mean the difference for many people between seeing it and not seeing it. Anyone going for a bird on this kind of gen will be prepared for the fact it might not be one.

Birders will be a lot harsher on someone who delays releasing news than on a mis-ID (which is very different from stringing). Most would far rather travel to see a genuine mis-ID than miss out on a good bird because news was not released in time.

For me this is all part of birding. Otherwise it would be very boring. I have seen several mis-IDed birds but have no bad feelings towards the finders in any instance.
 
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James

I'm losing it!
Happened to me years ago. I found a juvenile phalarope in Norfolk and wasn't entirely sure which it was. It didn't take me long to get the attention of some more experienced birders but if nobody was around it would still have been worth putting out "Phalarope sp." as all 3 would be worth a look to most people.
Bit more difficult if you're not sure whether you have seen a common warbler or a much rarer similar species!!!

James
 

purple highflyer

Well-known member
Hi All

It,s also happend to me twice,by the time I was sure of what I,d seen both birds had gone ,all the very experienced birders I,ve spoken to this about were unanimous,put it out as a probable , then people can decide if they want to chance going for a look or not

PH
 

redshank2

Member
Hi,

I'd say put it out on a local bird group/club website so that someone local andmore experienced can hopefully check it out. That way hopefully if you are correct the news gets confirmed before it spreads and attracts people to make very long expensive journeys which might be attempted if you immediately report your sighting more widely.

If you're wrong of course, hopefully this way no-one travels far to find out your mistake.

I would be cautious though as a new birder without an established reputation; as some of the posts on the 'Rare Birds' forums show there's not much sympathy amongst some people for learners making errors or lacking knowledge.

Several years ago I saw a county rarity whilst out alone and having reported it on the county birding club webste was asked to submit a formal report for the county recorder. I did but unfotunately had had no-one else, no notebook entry and no photograph to accompany my report. I heard nothing in reply and assume from that that my record was rejected. That left me quite dispirited. Given that reporting a county rarity as a new birder generated a fair amount of scepticism, I'm certain that few would have belived me had I seen a true rarity. I would still though have at least attempted to report it in the hope someone else might see it and confirm it.

Key lesson I learned; always carry a notebook and preferably a camera wherever you're birding!
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
I agree with the previous recommendations: put news out caveated as necessary, straight away. The worst thing is the late announcement of a mega. Give people the chance to see the bird.

There have been several occasions in the last year where birds haven't been announced till observers were sure and as a result nobody else has cought up with them.

Of course, even birders without cameras generally have mobile phones so a phonescoped image to RBA should be an option for nearly everybody.

John
 

postcardcv

Super Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I think a call to someone like RBA is the way to go - they an then either put out news of a possible/probable or get a local out to have a look at the bird. They may also be able to offer advice on the ID and help the observer decide for sure what they're looking at.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Of course RBA and the other news services also add shades of meaning to messages. If you are a newbie reporting a Steller's Sea Eagle at Brighton Marina you shouldn't be too offended if the message says "Wholly unconfirmed report of possible......"

John
 

Gastronaut

_______________
Whilst I agree in general terms it's better to pass on news with the appropriate caveats of level of certainty, experience of finder etc. I resent the insinuation that there must be an immediate alert to all national news services else feel the wrath of the twitchers! What makes the pager jockeys think they have an automatic right to see everything? Better to establish a reasonable level of certainty locally before going nationwide with the news, tough titty if the extra time spent means someone couldn't charter a flight from whereever in time. I'd be most annoyed if I'd travelled half way across the country for some schoolboy error that a moderately experienced birder would have noticed straight away. But not seeing something you didn't go for - so what, you didn't lose anything.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Whilst I agree in general terms it's better to pass on news with the appropriate caveats of level of certainty, experience of finder etc. I resent the insinuation that there must be an immediate alert to all national news services else feel the wrath of the twitchers! What makes the pager jockeys think they have an automatic right to see everything? Better to establish a reasonable level of certainty locally before going nationwide with the news, tough titty if the extra time spent means someone couldn't charter a flight from whereever in time. I'd be most annoyed if I'd travelled half way across the country for some schoolboy error that a moderately experienced birder would have noticed straight away. But not seeing something you didn't go for - so what, you didn't lose anything.

I meant simply that by contacting a national news service quickly you access expertise quickly, either by people arriving quickly from nearby or by discussion over the phone. This all rather assumes you actually want some help with your doubtful find, but if you don't it doesn't arise?

John
 
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