Date: 8/26/19 7:14 am
From: Harry LeGrand (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: On Lazuli Bunting, an August rare gull, and other birds that got away
Yesterday, on this listserve, I was verbally attacked by a person named Pam
Diamond, who claims that I called her "not a birder" in regard to the
report of a Lazuli Bunting. This greatly bothered and confused me, because*
her name is not the name of the observer and photographer of the bird
reported as a Lazuli Bunting*. That person's name is Patricia Finch, and
she lives in Beaufort. This name and town appear on the *CBC Rare Bird
Report form, which Ms. Finch has submitted now to the NC Bird Records
Committee.* Her name -- Patricia Beers Finch -- also is mentioned often in
the Facebook string.

I have read, re-read, etc., about all of the 37 comments on Facebook
regarding this bird, and *nowhere in these comments does the name of Pam
Diamond appear*. From what I understand, Ms. Diamond lives in Cary (Wake
County), nowhere near the coast. Late last night, after reading her strong
wording to me, I felt like these two names were one and the same person,
and I'm still not sure they aren't the same person. Why would someone who
lives in Cary, and whose name did not appear on the Facebook string, give
me grief for attacking her credibility as being "not a birder"?

At any rate, the Records Committee now has a Rare Bird Report form. (As a
advisory member of the committee, I have access to the submitted Rare Bird
Report forms, from the CBC website.) I DO want to thank Ms. Finch for
taking the time to fill out the report form. The Records Committee will be
reviewing that and the photo and presumably will vote on it later this year.

As for "birds that got away", and it is possible that this Beaufort bird is
one that "got away" without being accepted by the Committee, we can
probably add -- and these are birds seen by experienced observers with
dozens of years I the field:

1. the immature Falls Lake gull. Was it a Ross' Gull (would be a first
Carolina record)? A Little Gull (several previous Piedmont records)? A
Black-legged Kittiwake (two previous Piedmont records)? In any case, such
a gull in AUGUST is a complete shock.

2. a large swift seen flying past several birders at Oregon Inlet years
ago. There was talk of it being a needletail swift of some type. Whatever
it was, it almost certainly was a first state record.

3. a medium-sized shearwater that I and a few other birders saw on a
pelagic trip off Hatteras, on August 5, 1995. We discussed it as being
in-between a Cory's, Greater, and Manx in size, but brownish above.. We
were thinking an odd Mediterranean Shearwater. A handful of years later,
Cape Verde Shearwater was formally described, and at that time one was
photographed off Hatteras. In hindsight, plus now that I have seen about 5
of them near the Cape Verde Islands, I know in fact it was a Cape Verde
Shearwater -- but, I'm not writing up an after-the-fact report, without
photos of it. It is a "bird that got away" (Sight reports of rare pelagic
birds aren't in vogue these days!).

In summary, even very experienced birders have "birds that got away" -- too
far away to be confirmed, too similar to other species to be identified,
too quick of a view, etc. But, inexperienced birders make a great
contribution by photographing rare birds -- like several rare orioles at
feeders in NC, even if they know they are odd but don't know what they
are. Or, by notifying other birders about an odd or unusual bird that
needs identification or confirmation. Plus, there are many, many more
inexperienced birders in the Carolinas than there are those with a dozen or
more years of experience. So, the Carolinas need all types to contribute
to the bird records.

Harry LeGrand
Raleigh

 
Join us on Facebook!