Wednesday, April 28, 2010
A rather humbling experience
Yesterday, after talking to visitors for the best part of eight hours at the Dyfi Osprey Project, a call came from the visitor centre "female Merlin on the osprey nest". Last week we had had a male Merlin visit briefly. In my haste I 'grabbed' a couple of screen shots off the hard-drive literally as we were closing the door for the night. After driving home, I posted two of these Merlin shots under the DOP thread. A good birder off the North Waled Bird Forum sent me a message last night questioning, rightly, whether the bird was indeed a Merlin or a female Kestrel.
With a cup of tea and some relative calm this morning, I opened the visitor centre and played back the actual video of the raptor on the nest (around three minutes). The bird was a female Kestrel. No question.
I then wondered of course, how on earth I had made this mistake? The video footage was good, the light was good as was the focusing.
On the same thread last night I mentioned that we had had a few Mealies, Common Redpoll, on the feeders at the project. Mark (Hughes) this time, and again rightly, asked if they actually were Common (very un-common in this country!) or the more common Lesser Redpoll. Well, I took the camera down today in an attempt to correctly ID the Redpoll race, or species as they are now classed. The images are shown above, and again, I seemed to have made a misjudgement of ID.
This whole experience had made me feel rather embarrassed and somewhat foolish. Not one ID blunder in one day, but two. Now, it would be easy to try and blame this rather large peccadillo on tiredness, poor quality footage, somebody else(!) etc, but at the end of the day, these miss-identifications were down to my lack of attention, care, and in the case of the Redpoll, research.
Now I am sure that I am not the only person in the world that has wrong-called a species and I won't be the last; but this occasion has certainly re-taught me one of the first rules of birdwatching - good observation skills and due care and research.
I've stopped beating myself up about this now - next time though, and learning from one's mistakes of complacency, I will be, hopefully, a better birder.