Thursday, 18 January 2018

It's only birdwatching, but who to believe?

It's been interesting to watch the proliferation of 'birding information sites' on Twitter, Blogger and Facebook, all vying to keep us up to date on where to see interesting and unusual birds in East Anglia. What's particularly fascinating is that they often give contradictory information! Some of these sites are maintained by individuals who obtain most of their data from commercial online services and some by people who copy and paste data from other people's blogs: in both cases no personal knowledge is involved! The inevitable result is that birds are reported to be present when they've departed, or absent when they're still around: numbers are under or overstated and locations may be intentionally or mistakenly misreported. As an example: yesterday I started to count the Snow Buntings at Gramborough Hill and gave up at 100: there were lots more than that! All over the net the flock size is given as 70!

My favourite sites are those that are not maintained for commercial gain, back up their frequent posts with current personal data and photographs and aren't full of second hand sightings and political opinion! Examples would be:

Suffolk Birding with BINS

Yare Valley Wildlife

James Emerson's Birds and Beer

...and Twitter accounts such as:

Terry Dactyl (The Lowestoft Lounge Lizards)

Steve Gantlett

Justin Lansdell (and his big brother, Chris!)

There are lots more, of course, all providing a free alternative to expensive pagers and phone apps.

A tiny part of the flock!


Chris Lansdell said...

Less of the 'big' David! lol!

David said...

'Big' as in 'older and (?) wiser'! :)