List accuracy (24/3/17)
The following is from a UK400 Editorial (see post below) where the policeman of birding stated “Like it or not, birding attracts a disproportionate number of fabricators and it is my job to make sure that the national bird record archives is not distorted by these claims. I am passionate about bird records and wish to give an accurate representation of what has been seen….I am a perfectionist and strive to make accurate and fully comprehensive reports …. it is beneficial to us all that only definite claims are accepted.” Elsewhere he has stated “I keep meticulous notes on all of the birds that I see and record even every Song Thrush and Lesser Black-backed Gull.”
We all know who is the biggest fabricator!! Only in recent years has George been putting his lists on bubo. His key bubo life lists are totally inadequate e.g. the UK400 life list only gives 338 out his claimed around 590 birds, missing out the key birds. His AERC WP life list only has 618 birds and states “A work in progress; 200 or so vagrants to add to list”, again missing out the key birds. This is not helpful for someone who has claimed to be the number one WP life lister and states on his website he has seen 880 birds.
His UK400 year lists are not exactly accurate either. Lets start with his UK400 2013 year list and then move on to later ones. Remember that the following examples are boosting his year list totals as each record adds yet one more to his year tally. George would throw a fit if a rival counted some of these. George has even accused rivals of counting escapes when they have turned out to be real birds and accepted by the BBRC (e.g. Adrian Webb’s Black Kite).
On 23/6/2009, George rejected the Dorset Hooded Merganser with the details here – “After much deliberation, the drake HOODED MERGANSER …has now been formally accepted on to Category D1 … The bird therefore becomes UNCOUNTABLE on any UK400 Club day, life, county or year lists.” But that did not stop George counting it on his 2013 year list for 13/3/2013.
Ross’s Snow Goose on 3/12/2013, Marshside Marsh RSPB, Lancs, George stated “A first-winter of unknown origin with Mallards”. This stayed around Marshside and nearby sites for nearly 4 years when it was believed to have died.
Black-winged Stilt on 15/3/2014, Castle Mills. On 2014 year list George stated “bearing an orange ring indicating captive origin”. There were quite a number of escapes that year.
Ross’s Snow Goose on 8/4/2014, Wilstone Reservoir (Tring). George stated “first-winter of presumably captive origin with Greylag Geese”. This was regarded by many as an escape.
Bufflehead on 29/10/2015 at Priory Country Park, Bedford. On his 2015 list George stated this “first-winter drake bearing a metal ring on its right leg”. Of course UK400 (i.e. George) can count what he likes but we prefer BBRC views and they rejected it.
A resident pair of Ruddy Shelduck on 20/2/2015 and 26/7/2016 at Pitsford Reservoir. These were counted on his 2015 list and 2016 list and George even stated in 2016 “Perhaps now of highly dubious origin as seemingly resident now”.
Looking at George’s 2016 UK400 list on bubo we found 9 errors and/or probable fabrications. Some of these are discussed below.
Since 2016, George has been sending twitter messages from Little Charfont which are time stamped. This has shown that he did not see the American White-winged Scoter on 2/7/2016 at Murcar Beach, Aberdeenshire and the Scratby Hall Hume’s YBW on 9/12/2016. We believe he didn’t see these 2 birds on any date.
George strung his only record of Rustic Bunting for 2016. He was at Kilnsea on the 6/10/2016 but there are witnesses who say he did not see it. George needs to supply witnesses for this record on his year list.
Also George is claiming Greenish Warbler at Bempton on 6/10/16. There was NO Greenish there – it was an Arctic Warbler. Some Arctic’s are very Greenish-like. As George had seen Arctic at Landguard that’s yet another one off his 2016 list!
George posted on Facebook on 23/2/2017 with the title “Did I throw away a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler last year?” with some good photo’s which included the crown of the Arctic at Bempton on 6/10/16. George received quite a number of comments back. As it looked nothing like a Pale-legged, unsurprisingly no one thought it was one, e.g. “Definitely not a Pale-legged, or Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, would expect a greyish crown among other things.”, e.g. “Well, it is a leaf warbler and it does have pale legs. But i wouldn’t worry too much about this one.”
Stow Blue Rock Thrush on 29/12/2016 is on his UK400 2016 list even though he claimed it was an escape. For example, George stated on twitter on 3/1/17 “Adult male Blue Rock Thrush of presumably captive origin still present”.
Gareth Hughes had 352 for 2016, and George claimed 355. We believe that George got less than 352, which is typical of George of adding a few more on to beat his rivals.
The Stow Blue Rock Thrush is also on his BOU 2017 list. He does not yet have a bubo UK400 2017 list. A bit more on the BRT can be seen in the comments below.
George’s has Cackling Geese on 24/2/2017. George stated on twitter “Family party of Dutch Cackling Geese still present in the Cuckmere this afternoon with the Barnacle Geese that also came from Holland.” Someone replied: “Only 4 ‘pure’ Cackling surely?” George’s replied “Yes, but who were the parents of the 5 young?!!” Netherlands has a feral population but there is no certain evidence that these 9 birds came from there.
Below there are 2 comments on Blue Rock Thrush.