Date: 11/4/18 6:17 pm From: Alan Ryff <alryff...> Subject: Re: [birders] The Fake News about a Spotted Redshank
I'm not talking about tangents. Once again the issue is being evaded. Back to the nitty-gritty; "As for Marc North’s statement . . . He’s got some explaining to do, and probably an apology to make. I didn’t like what he said at all (your words John)." I'm glad that you are not pleased. And a lot of readers are not pleased, as well. I'm patiently waiting Marc's explanation. An apology never hurts. And who among you put this BS in his head?Alan
Concerning the 2 November 2018 Spotted Redshank,
Marc North posted on e-Bird Nov 03, 2018 18:01"- Comments: Continuing. Original finders (Alan Ryff andMaggie Jewett) veryrudely hid this bird with malicious intent. Good thing they foolishly still made checklists through the dayultimately ruining their sinister plan. Shame on them, they give the birding community a bad name.WoooooooF!"
On Sunday, November 4, 2018 5:44 PM, John Lowry <jlowry...> wrote:
Are you saying you literally think someone is “hacking” your phone? Or do you think eBird app has a way to track your location and somehow any eBird reviewer can snoop your location. Now I don’t know for a fact that your phone, or mine for that matter, hasn’t been hacked by Russian political operatives or cyber criminals, but I don’t think I’m under surveillance and I certainly don’t believe that Cornell Lab of Ornithology has the technical ability nor legal standing to do this.
I am not aware of anything that resembles “hacking” in any sense. Here’s what I did, and after a phone call with Caleb and his description of Adam and Scott’s day yesterday, our nearly identical approach to solving this birding mystery went as follows.
1. Ask Alan and Maggie where they saw the bird! I emailed you immediately. No reply. I texted Maggie immediately. No reply. Others report similar efforts. OK. For some reason they don’t want to share the bird. Frustrating, but there are many reasons folks choose not to share their bird finds. Anyway, we want to see the bird, so let’s see if we can figure you where they birded. Check eBird! Alan doesn’t use eBird, but Maggie does.
2. Go to eBird hotspots and county level reports, look at any places Maggie visited recently. Found no reports since Oct 31. Did Maggie chase the Ash-throated or wren in Ludington? Were they birding at Ludington Sewage? Muskegon? Hmm, no reports… and the vegetation in the photos… looks like potentially it was Mouillee. Check Mouillee reports… nothing. It’s closed anyway.
3. Look for EXIF data in photos to see if location was retained (nope, the EXIF data was stripped from photos, as it frequently is). Look closely at vegetation in photos to see if there were landmarks or clues. Hmm, could be Mouillee. Well you’d need a duck stamp and permit to bird there, but that’s got to be a contender. But that yellow bidens flower could be at any little pond.
4. Could be Scio, could be Four Mile, hell it could be anywhere. I thought probably along Lake St. Clair or maybe Lake Erie. Sterling State Park? Trinkle? At the same time I and others were conversing about these locations, Caleb, Adam and Scott were talking with another long time Washtenaw County birder who said, check Scio and check Vreeland. Scio and Maggie’s been hitting these two spots regularly over the past few weeks.
5. Adam decides to check Scio before he checks Vreeland. Boom. That’s Adam. He’s not just lucky. He’s insanely lucky. He made the right guess. And what do they say about luck? Preparation meeting opportunity.
As for Marc North’s statement, I have no idea what he was talking about, as you already know if you ask Maggie — after Oct 31 there were no checklists posted by Maggie until the Nov 2 checklist was posted well after the fact on Nov 3, and after everyone knew where the bird was. He’s got some explaining to do, and probably an apology to make. I didn’t like what he said at all. Not the tone, nor the implication that he had info that he didn’t. There were no checklists between Oct 31 and the SPRE checklist on Nov 2 (posted Nov 3).
You didn’t want to share this sighting, and that’s fine. But others re-found your great record based on your public post on Flickr. You shared enough info to let folks know it was out there to be found, but you didn’t give location and didn’t reply nor make an effort to ask Maggie to share with her friends in the county who she knew would be interested to see this bird. When folks got upset that this bird was there to be seen in a public eBird hotspot and a long time Washtenaw County birder saw it, had pictures and didn’t share the info, well… Yeah, harsh words were spoken. And probably a lot of things said that should have been left unsaid. I know I was frustrated at first and then very happy to see a CODE 4 ABA rare bird that I never expected to see in North America in my life, much less within a half hour of my house. And I left a wedding to see it and still made it back in time to see the bride and groom enter the reception hall.
As for committees, I’m not on any bird records committees and frankly, I’m not sure what they have to do with my enjoyment of birds anyway. There were about 200 other folks today who saw that bird and about half of them don’t even know what a rare bird committee is, nor care. I do know that a lot of folks know what a Spotted Redshank looks like now, thanks to you and Adam, and I think because of this bird there are even a few more potential birders we forged today.
I do hope that being on a committee isn’t a prerequisite for hearing about rare birds.
On Nov 4, 2018, at 2:56 PM, Alan Ryff <alryff...> wrote:
John,You are evading the issue of fake news: Did committee members hack or did they not? Mark North's words, "Good thing they foolishly still made checklists through the dayultimately ruining their sinister plan." Furthermore: Your words: "We didn’t have the luxury of quick replies from our attempts to reach Maggie and Alan, . . ." None of the committee members ever called after I posted my photos on www.flickr.com/photos/snow-shadow Please reread: [birders] The Fake News about a Spotted Redshank
On Sunday, November 4, 2018 2:07 PM, John Lowry <jlowry...> wrote:
Alan and all,
I can share the way this unfolded from my perspective, and although the beginning of this story is a bit sad I hope it has a happy ending. I don’t like the personal attacks, and I encourage everyone to avoid jumping to conclusions. Implying malicious intent by any parties is just wrong. No mysterious “hacking” was necessary, and as Alan notes, he doesn’t owe the birding community anything. Folks bird in different ways and although many of us love to share a great bird sighting, it’s a personal choice. If Alan finds a bird and doesn’t share it because of the way he was talked about publicly here, I’m not sure anyone can blame him.
Having said that, Alan did post the Spotted Redshank photos to his Flickr account and noted the date photographed as Nov 2, 2018 and the location as simply “Michigan”. The report of this sighting of a continental rarity was noted by Nate Swick at the ABA who curates our weekly Rare Bird Alerts. Nate posted the image to the ABA Rare Bird Alert Facebook page and noted that it was reported from Michigan with no further details. Again, this is an exceedingly rare bird anywhere in North America. It’s an “ABA Code 4”, and any long time birder knows it’s of interest to the birding community, so Nate, then me, then the Michigan birding community on Facebook attempted to figure out how we and others could see this and share the sighting if it was in a publicly accessible location. Many texts, emails, phone calls and messages were exchanged among the interested birders in Michigan to narrow down places to look. We didn’t have the luxury of quick replies from our attempts to reach Maggie and Alan, and of course folks were frustrated that further location details weren’t forthcoming. Our assumption initially was that it the location was being withheld because it was on private property, which is a GOOD reason to withhold location. Of course other potential reasons were posited as to why the location wasn’t shared, but the main topic of conversation was “how can we figure out where this bird is?"
Guessing that eventually we’d hear from Maggie or Alan, but not certain that it would be in time to intersect with this arctic migrant, there was a flurry of activity to get out and bird. With the knowledge that there are a few regularly birded sites for shorebirds, and lacking more specific information, the plan was to just start checking likely sites. And then some luck shone on Adam and Scott. The first guess was the right guess. And it wasn’t a blind guess by the way, this eBird hotspot has had quite a bit of shorebird activity lately, and the plants and the habitat seen in the background looked right.
So let’s give credit where it’s due. Great find by Alan, and some great birding community communication and field work by especially Adam and Scott.
I hope everyone who wishes to see this rare bird is able to do so, and I hope we can all be more charitable in our birding activity.
On Nov 4, 2018, at 11:53 AM, Alan Ryff <alryff...> wrote:
Concerning the 2 November 2018 Spotted Redshank,Marc North posted on e-Bird Nov 03, 2018 18:01"- Comments: Continuing. Original finders (Alan Ryff andMaggie Jewett) veryrudely hid this bird with malicious intent. Good thing they foolishly still made checklists through the dayultimately ruining their sinister plan. Shame on them, they give the birding community a bad name.WoooooooF!"
Really? Come on Marc, where did you get that information? Hopefully the politics of Trump's fake news hasn't infiltrated birding. It looks like it has by reading your words. Prior to 4:30 PM or so we "did not" bird on 2 November 2018 ("foolishly made checklists through the day"). Our plan was to do a day's end count at a crane roost site. On the way to the crane roost Maggie suggested we stop at the marsh at the Scio Church Road and Parker Road intersection. No online checklists were made about anything--just note taking in a notebook. After the photo shoot of the redshank, we went straightway to my house for an all nighter of cropping and editing photos. So much for "foolishly made checklists . . . ultimately ruining their sinister plan." By the way Marc, since when have I owed you anything concerning my personal life. I have no relations with a big part of this world. It's been about 10 to 20 years since I've been involved with any form of listing. I don't even keep records or an e-Bird account. I'm not even cheating my way to the top of some heap of listers. Concerning nature. I haver no interest in what you see or don't see. So what is this "malicious" intent you speak of. Maggie didn't post her redshank encounter until after many postings had already been submitted on the next day, being November 3. Thus lies an important Question: How DID the members of the records committee so casually come upon this jewell of a bird in an obscure mud puddle of a pond in rural Washtenaw County?Hacking by illegal means is a possibility. iPhone, Subaru GPS, even Flickr posted photos, flickr.com/photos/snow-shadow Note my flickr name isn't even Alan. It's Spot Focus. Quite humble. This is an age without any true privacy. If any of the "committee" members had called me, the desired information would have somehow slipped off my tongue. What stopped them from calling? Too proud to ask? Can't get your own bird? A Courtesy call helps. The "sinister plan" is theirs.
My motto as a naturalist with an artistic eye: "L" is for learning, not for listing. I love my birds and want to keep learning about them. Redshank included. It's not even the first time I studied one.
Birders is a service of the Great Lakes Commission. Visit us at www.glc.org
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Birders" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to birders+<unsubscribe...>
To post to this group, send email to <birders...>
Visit this group at https://groups.google.com/a/great-lakes.net/group/birders/.
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/a/great-lakes.net/d/msgid/birders/<41196132.512695.1541350391276...> For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/a/great-lakes.net/d/optout.