Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A good time was had by all (well by me anyway!)

Just a short preview. I'll update tomorrow. This afternoon I popped the 10 miles south from work to pay respects to the long staying St Mary's Red flanked Bluetail. And what a bird. A bit of a show off this character, it made regular flycatching sallies from a fence wire only 20 yards from the twitch ( 4 of us). I even got some snaps, but more of that later....

As if things this weekend havent been good enough, when I returned home at 6pm I took Bunty for a walk down to the Bathing House. All was quiet until I was about to leave at dusk, when a familiar 'chak, tuck, tac' sound made me alert. I knew that call. It was coming from the cliff side ground cover, creeping brambles and grass. I went to investigate and out popped a Dusky Warbler! Only a few feet away too, it didnt look too fit viewed from above, as it fanned its wings and tail, calling all the time. It flew around a bit but seemed to settle near the beach at Rumbling Kern 100 mtrs south of the Bathing House. Both of the rare sibe scrub phylloscs in 3 days, on foot from home, who would credit that...

I'll be there in the morning before work to see if I can get some pics....


Weds morning update 8.30am.- Well, I've been.

Never has there been a bigger birding cock up than this one. By me anyway. Well, not since the Shetland Brown Flycatcher. I wonder if it was the light? Or maybe sibe fever and adrenalin after seeing the Bluetail? Regardless of excuses, I've dropped a clanger than can be heard miles away.

You'll see the pager message this morning that reads 'No sign of Dusky Warbler at Howick....etc' Thats because I didnt have the bollocks to tell them the whole tale. There's never been a bloody Dusky Warbler at Howick.

Excited, I was down at the coast at 7.30 to try a photo of said Dusky Warbler. Silence. No calls or anything, so I decided to push through the brambles and nettle scrub. A movement ahead of me...

Juvvy Blackcap. Wing flicking and climbing about with fanned tail????? Then, Chiffchaff. There had been four here the other day. Then reality dawns with a gut wrench that can only come with public humiliation. I have been seeing the Chiff in the gloaming while listening to a sodding Blackcap. There is no real excuse for this, I've seen about 5 Duskies here and hundreds in China, I've even found one at Newbiggin ( and before you say it, it was seen by many observers).

Reputation now well and truly shafted, what should I do? Go ahead and claim the Dusky? No one would ever know. But I would, and I cant have that. The little reputation I have was built on honesty and openness. There's nothing for it. I returned home, search over, tail between my legs well and truly beaten.

So, apologies all round for the string. To Andy and Alan who I rang immediately certain of my BB rarity find, and to the info services for wasting their time too. I think I'll keep a low profile for a while. There might just be a hint of suppressor about me in the future...

20 comments:

Dean said...

Great find Stewart. Bet you`re well chuffed with that one.

Stewart said...

Not so great after all Dean...:(

abbey meadows said...

I wouldn't worry Stew , on the whole nobody really cares, we all make mistakes from time to time. I admire your honesty.

Dean said...

It takes bollox to admit to a mistake like that and i for one think no less of you.
Like Nigel says, your honesty is admirable.

The Liverbirder said...

Birding ethics and integrity at its finest. It could have been worse, you could have mis-id'd a Common Buzzard as a Rough-legged one! Worry not, you still one of my birding heroes!!

Northumbrian Birding said...

Have to agree takes some bottle to admit you were on this occasion wrong ,integrity and virginity intact there is always another day !(that's dusky on the patch virginity I refer to !!)
Brian

alan tilmouth said...

You get more respect from me and I suspect most experienced birders for the honesty.If we're not making mistakes we're not learning! You've still found more rare than most of us have had hot dinners.

Warren Baker said...

ouch!

It happens to us all, but not all of us admit it :-)

Stewart said...

Many Thanks for the support all, but lets face it I should have known better. This WONT happen again thats for sure.

Anonymous said...

Everyone makes mistakes-not everyone owns up!
Your still up there with the best-even more so now-not many would have come clean!
To err is human!-to admit your mistake is divine!
ADMc

Anonymous said...

There's a heck of a lot of birders jumping the gun this year with this sort of thing but at least your everyday observations are trusted as accurate and reliable as shown by your excellent sketches.

At least you haven't tried to make excuses about getting the news out early, blathered on about how at least you're "out there looking" or posted a photo montage explaining why you were right to the rest of us.

I think you're the only one that has actually just put his hands up and been big and straight about it and not just 'admitted' to it when you actually had nowhere else to go. As you say, you could have sat on it.

I'm sure you'll have put matters right before too long.

good luck

Mark said...

I wouldn't worry about your reputation....after that post your integrity will never be questioned, and you've found so many decent birds in the past you'll be trusted in the future. Anyone who'se anyone in birding has been in the game for a while and has seen genuine mistakes like this before. Perhaps what they haven't seen is the honest and frank public retraction, with no excuses, that you've made. An excellent post.

Newton Stringer said...

Don't beat yourself up mate we have all done it !

Dylan Wrathall said...

A mis-id'd bird - who cares? That you've the integrity to own up speaks volumes about your character. As others have said, don't beat yourself up about it - all part of the learning curve of getting older!

Ipin said...

All of the above!

Andrew Kinghorn said...

No harm done. Like everyone has said it doesn't really matter. If was a little mis-ID and everyone makes mistakes. I sure hope this doesn't put you off reporting birds.

Great blog, keep up the good work. :)

Tim Sexton said...

You know what they say Stew.

Get yourself up, dusk yourself off and start all over again :)

Brian Robson said...

I have yet to meet a birder who has not made a mistake in ID, and it takes a big man to publicly admit it.Ive made my fair share and still do.

Stewart said...

Dear me, how many comments! I think many can maybe empathise ( or at least feel relief that it wasn't you ;)

Thanks for the kind support.

As they say, its not life and death...birding is much more important than that.

Gavin Haig said...

Tough one Stewart. Some of us know exactly how that feels! You'll soon be remedying it though. All the best.