Thursday, April 24, 2014

Donny, You're Out of Your Element! The Yellowlegs is not the Issue Here!

Lately it seems like there's been some good gossip and bust-ups of the listservs and other birding-related media (you Texbirds people need to stop hogging all that ornery goodness too yourselves). For those of us that frequent the different email or facebook-based birding forums, of course there's a certain cringe, but also guilty pleasure in seeing things blow up. birders are generally mild-mannered people, but the anonymity and distance of internet correspondence allows for some unfettered tirades and arguments to metastasize with great effect.
Our AZ listserv is pretty quiet in this regard, at least lately. Most of the contributors are well-established, have their own surveillance areas, and tend to keep whatever grumbles they may have off-list, except for some added grumpiness on April Fool's Day. This is all to say I feel like I'm being deprived of an essential aspect of my 21st century birding experience: no big bust-ups.

Sometimes there can be really perplexing stuff on the bird forums too, perplexing because a species or specimen is hard to identify. Other times the perplexity can come from a person's penchant for misidentification and their resistance to correction, especially in the case of urban-dwelling Goshawks in Tucson.
I bring this to attention knowing fully well that I'm no ace of ID, that I've been stubbornly on the losing end of many the ID argument, and know first hand that a little self-deprication and humility, even in the face of embarrassing mistakes, is a must for progressing beginners like myself. Without much further adieu then, and without intentional meanness or derision, but merely general amusement, here's a fun little exchange from last week. Most of the people here are being good sports amid a perplexing case:


{Here's a photo of a} Rail:
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