Date: 7/11/18 6:07 pm From: Joel Geier <joel.geier...> Subject: [obol] Re: Is this a Western Watch-a-ma-callit? A modest suggestion for photo ID discussions
I suggest it would be best if we all assume that everyone who commented on the Western Wood-Pewee/Willow Flycatcher thread was commenting with good intentions.
Like others have expressed, I value Jim's high-quality photos and I appreciate him sharing them with the group. It takes a lot of patience to get shots like this. Once in a while Jim has asked me for an opinion on grassland bird photos, and he often has tough questions (which shows that he's thought about these photos before asking for a second opinion).
I think Tim makes a valid point about the benefits of working through an identification, and taking it as far as you can go, before putting it out there for others to comment on. I didn't think he was being snarky but I think it was a mistake to make this comment in response to a particular individual's posting. Tim has apologized and I think we should let that rest.
Thinking about how to make photo ID discussions more productive, I'd like to toss out a few suggestions here for discussion:
1) When you post a photo, try to give a tentative identification based on your own efforts (I think Jim did this by suggesting Western Wood-Pewee in the subject line).
2) Please try to include information about habitat and behavior. Where did you see the bird? What kind of tree or shrub was it in? What was it doing? How big did it seem in comparison with "standard" birds like Robin, Killdeer, etc.?
3) For birders who respond, please explain WHY you think it's a particular species, pointing out the key field marks. It can be helpful to give a link to a more detailed discussion (as Dave Irons did), especially if you include a brief mention of what you think are the key marks.
4) For birders who don't respond, please understand that the relatively small subset of birders on OBOL who respond to ID requests get a LOT of similar requests, and they are humans too. Sometimes people get cranky or otherwise are not in top form.
5) To me, it seems like a lot of these ID discussions are unsatisfying from an educational point of view, because there's no wrap-up discussion. A lot of people chime in with opinions, some of them contradictory. So the result sometimes can be confusing. Also, a lot of times the original poster ("OP," in internet-speak) might get feedback from people who don't post to OBOL.
It would be nice if the OPs could post a brief synopsis of what they learned. Not just a "democratic" summary of how many votes for one or the other alternative, but a summary of the key ID points that were cited in favor of the identifications. This could be a good way for the OPs to share what they've learned in the process of sharing their photos, with the full community.
Happy birdwatching, Joel -- Joel Geier Camp Adair area north of Corvallis