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Friday, 31 August 2018

Spoonbills at Titchwell: don't believe eveything you read!

If record-keepers and bird news disseminators gather their information by scanning blogs and tweets, they need to spread their nets more widely and with greater discrimination! Increasingly frequently inaccuracies and misinformation appear on the various news sources and blogs.

A classic example yesterday: at Titchwell there were at least 25 Spoonbills in two groups spread along the back of the freshwater pool: you can pick out 22 of them in the 'stitched' panorama below. Everybody at Titchwell saw them (albeit distantly!) so we have to assume that the 'live news' tweets, blogs and maps - all of which reported just twelve Spoonies - use third-hand data at times. This no doubt accounts for the occasional wild goose chases, when birds are reported as still present (when they're not!) or missed opportunities (when birds are reported as departed when they're still present!)

Personally speaking, whenever possible, I prefer to get out in the field at a suitable venue and either find birds myself or ask others 'What's about?' I tend to use the online reports as a guide of what I might see, rather than as a focus for my days out

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