Re: [nflbirds] Common loon
- Melissa, et al,
I think I might differ with you on whether or not
you are questioning my ID
Let me share that:
We are not the first to stumble over these semantics, so let me try to explain. I know full well you know a loon when you see one. But on a remarkable date/time it's always best to question, just to be sure. I do this a lot in Texas and you'd be surprised how many people either didn't see the bird well, had the sun in their eyes, only got a glimpse, the bird was in a weird plumage, or some other mitigating factor. And remember that anyone of any birding level can turn in a sighting, and folks who handle records are at the mercy of all kinds of variables.
Right now, I am beginning a book on the history of the birds of Galveston. There is (of course) a section on historical records, and frankly there are some eye-poppers. I mean some that just don't make any sense at all, that were not written up, that nobody questioned, and frankly have "skeptical" written all over them. What a pain the the @$$. Basically, nobody played the bad guy and asked questions. So do I publish them as fact? Not on your life; and that's sad coz a few might well be correctly identified.
I've been birding nearly sixty years and I'd expect someone to say, "Are you SURE?" if I turned in a record as surprising as yours (though not unprecedented). Do I believe you? Yes, as I said before. But does it deserve at least questioning? Again, yes. That's how science works. If I asked, "Could it have been another species of loon?", that would be reasonable. And on and on. And frankly, it is BECAUSE you are a good birder that I asked. Otherwise, I would have simply deleted the post.
In closing, let me say that we live in a time where science is attacked on every front. We deny climate change coz one party thought they were being singled out. We deny that animals change coz certain religions think it means there's no God. We arrange dates for people based on their birth dates (for God's sakes). And the TVs are replete with stupid shows about superstitions and fairly tales that fly in the face of everything we know. We have plunged ourselves into a darkness not seen since the collapse of classical civilization, and before the Italian Renaissance.
So I truly am sorry if I seemed to single you out. Others have as well, and my dad made a living out of it. I know, coz nobody got his records questioned more than me. And I am a better birder for it.
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