(If some of the text in this post is a different colour then you can click on it as it is a link to another page online.)
There can be no doubt about it; technology has assisted birding hugely over the years. With the invention of the pager allowing the ‘early’ twitchers to get to see birds that often they would only hear about a couple of weeks later! Now of course the pager is somewhat becoming ‘old news’ with bird information now being able to be sent to peoples mobiles, or of course people can check the internet with their mobile phones to see what has been seen. Speaking of the internet where would we birders and twitchers be without it? For one thing we wouldn’t have Eastern Crowned Warbler on our British list see HERE and HERE, read first one then second. Then there is a the many bird news services broadcasting news day and sometimes night so that birders around the country can see what birds they desire. Let’s not forget the countless forums, blogs, and other bird related websites that we use or can use if we need them. Additionally how do you know what many birds you have never seen before sound like? The answer is thanks to technology bird calls and sounds can be recorded and uploaded for everyone on the planet who can access it to enjoy. We are also fortunate enough to view images of birds taken on our doorsteps, counties, and the other parts of the world, on occasions you can view images taken on the other side of the world on the same day they were taken! Technology is great for birding and I am sure many wouldn’t disagree, in fact if you are enjoying this post so far you can’t disagree. ;)
However (you might have know this was coming) technology also has its draw backs when it comes to birding in this day and age, or so I think anyway. You can of course make your own mind up and please do leave your comments in the comment section as I would like to hear them. This post is fuelled by the recent Brown Flycatcher on Shetland thread, until late on this afternoon there was a big debate going on about a photo and how much it looked like a Spotted Flycatcher. It turned out in the end that it was actually a Spotted Flycatcher and the finder said that he couldn’t be 100% sure, good and honest of the observer to actually admit he rushed into the ID a bit. However it got me thinking, we are now always wanting to see photos instead of just taking peoples word for it when they claim rare birds. I personally think that notes and descriptions are sufficient enough to get a bird accepted, even if it is exceptionally rare. Are we not just relying too much on images to confirm if a bird is what the observer(s) say it is!
Don’t get me wrong I like to see pictures but if a picture was of bad quality and features were hard to make out and decipher between species I would take the observers word for it. Am I naive, perhaps? I just think that sometimes birders (myself included) just don’t look at the bigger picture and need to see a photo of a rarity to believe it and if it doesn’t quite look right we question the validity of the record.
Don’t hate me by the way! Until next time, Foghorn out!
ps. Go back to the post with the photo of the Eastern Crowned Warbler on it. Hover over it and see how many views it had. Compare that to the picture next to it. LOL