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Re: Galileo Hill Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

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  • Oscar Johnson
    All, First off thanks for the many responses on this bird. It is interesting to see the wide range of responses, from unidentifiable, to YBFL, to WEFL. My
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 3, 2007
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      All,

      First off thanks for the many responses on this bird. It is
      interesting to see the wide range of responses, from unidentifiable,
      to YBFL, to WEFL.

      My initial incentive for posting these photos was that to date I had
      seen no mention of discussion of this bird's identity. And as far as I
      know, David and I were the only people to obtain good photos. My
      personal opinion on this bird is that it should likely remain
      unidentified, given the apparent overlap in a number of characters. I
      personally don't have very much experience with YBFL, but I have
      certainly read Pyle and Heindel. I left this bird in the field as
      "showing characters of YBFL," which still seems to be a good label for
      this bird (to my mind).

      We heard a bird giving a position note from the general part of the
      bamboo patch where this bird was hiding that I suspect was this bird.
      To my ear it sounded similar, but slightly different from, the
      position note of Western Flycatcher. Scott Terrill, who was also
      present at that time, thought that it sounded similar to position
      notes he has heard from other YBFLs. Any comments on this Scott?
      Otherwise, the bird did not call.

      However, despite all of this, my only involvement in the record was
      that I received a phone call about a reported rarity, chased said
      bird, attempted to document it as well as I could, and then put the
      photos in the public forum. The photos don't do much for me
      personally, and I believe are much more useful in the public forum.
      When I posted the photos I was not aware that Mike had left the bird
      as Empidonax sp.

      As to Doug's posts, I adamantly believe that there is absolutely no
      requirement for posting a rarity to this listerve simply because I
      read the posts. There are plenty of reasons not to post a rarity,
      whether because of private property issues, lack of access to
      restricted areas, or simply if the identity of the bird is not
      certain. Of course it is ultimately up to the observer to decide
      whether to post or not, and it depends on personal preference. In the
      case of this bird I was away from a computer for a number of days
      while birding the desert and Ventura County.

      It appears to me that the photos of the Empidonax on Jim's page show a
      Willow Flycatcher in the upper five photos, and what may be the
      reported YBFL in the lower three photos? However, I don't know if you
      can tell for sure.

      Good birding,

      Oscar Johnson
    • Lori Conrad
      All I have to say on this matter is how does a person get on this apparently elite call list? Lori Conrad Hermosa Beach, Ca [Non-text portions of this message
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 3, 2007
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        All I have to say on this matter is how does a person get on this apparently elite call list?

        Lori Conrad
        Hermosa Beach, Ca


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Andy Boyce
        Hello, I would agree with Oscar that this bird is probably best left unidentified. First, I am uncomfortable with the shape of the eye-ring on this bird. It
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 3, 2007
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          Hello,

          I would agree with Oscar that this bird is probably best left
          unidentified. First, I am uncomfortable with the shape of the eye-ring
          on this bird. It looks a little too thick in front of and behind the
          eye, especially in relation to how thin it gets above the eye. The
          only other mark that looks off for YBFL is the wing color. I
          understand this can be hard to judge in photos, but even if the wing
          is a tad darker than it appears, I think there should be more contrast
          between the wing and body color.

          All that being said, it is certainly not a normal-looking WEFL.
          Frustrating to ID, but definitely a fun bird to analyze.

          On the topic of CALBIRDS and lists in general, from the point of view
          of a new immigrant to CA with no affiliations;

          It seems fairly ridiculous to me to attempt to mandate any type of
          participation from everyone who reads this list, I'll leave it at
          that. As for the calling circles; I've heard references to "elitist
          inner-circles" on many birding lists, but have yet to encounter such
          an insidious clan in the flesh. The only thing I've seen are groups of
          friends who enjoy birding together and sharing sightings.

          -Andy Boyce
          Riverside, CA
        • Ken Burton
          It seems to me that one of the most valuable purposes of a communication medium such as a birding listserv is to alert competent observers to the existence of
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 4, 2007
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            It seems to me that one of the most valuable purposes of a communication medium such as a birding listserv is to alert competent observers to the existence of potential rarities of uncertain identity. What better way to get a multitude of opinions based on field observation, where it really counts? Of course, it is the responsibility of the reporter to make his uncertainty clear; at that point, it is up to the reader whether to "chase" based on whatever criteria he deems important, including his opinion of the reporter's credibility. We are (mostly) intelligent people, not sheep, and no one who makes an honest post should be held accountable for causing a stampede.

            I am not implying that anyone is obligated to report birds of uncertain identity. It's certainly understandable (if unfortunate) that people might not want to risk their reputations by reporting broadly before identifications are certain. I am merely saying that uncertain identity should not necessarily be considered reason in and of itself for not posting a bird of potential widespread interest. Such birds can offer excellent opportunities for study, discussion, debate, and learning.

            Ken Burton
            McKinleyville
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Oscar Johnson
            To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2007 10:43 PM
            Subject: [CALBIRDS] Re: Galileo Hill Yellow-bellied Flycatcher


            All,

            First off thanks for the many responses on this bird. It is
            interesting to see the wide range of responses, from unidentifiable,
            to YBFL, to WEFL.

            My initial incentive for posting these photos was that to date I had
            seen no mention of discussion of this bird's identity. And as far as I
            know, David and I were the only people to obtain good photos. My
            personal opinion on this bird is that it should likely remain
            unidentified, given the apparent overlap in a number of characters. I
            personally don't have very much experience with YBFL, but I have
            certainly read Pyle and Heindel. I left this bird in the field as
            "showing characters of YBFL," which still seems to be a good label for
            this bird (to my mind).

            We heard a bird giving a position note from the general part of the
            bamboo patch where this bird was hiding that I suspect was this bird.
            To my ear it sounded similar, but slightly different from, the
            position note of Western Flycatcher. Scott Terrill, who was also
            present at that time, thought that it sounded similar to position
            notes he has heard from other YBFLs. Any comments on this Scott?
            Otherwise, the bird did not call.

            However, despite all of this, my only involvement in the record was
            that I received a phone call about a reported rarity, chased said
            bird, attempted to document it as well as I could, and then put the
            photos in the public forum. The photos don't do much for me
            personally, and I believe are much more useful in the public forum.
            When I posted the photos I was not aware that Mike had left the bird
            as Empidonax sp.

            As to Doug's posts, I adamantly believe that there is absolutely no
            requirement for posting a rarity to this listerve simply because I
            read the posts. There are plenty of reasons not to post a rarity,
            whether because of private property issues, lack of access to
            restricted areas, or simply if the identity of the bird is not
            certain. Of course it is ultimately up to the observer to decide
            whether to post or not, and it depends on personal preference. In the
            case of this bird I was away from a computer for a number of days
            while birding the desert and Ventura County.

            It appears to me that the photos of the Empidonax on Jim's page show a
            Willow Flycatcher in the upper five photos, and what may be the
            reported YBFL in the lower three photos? However, I don't know if you
            can tell for sure.

            Good birding,

            Oscar Johnson





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