29
Sep
15

The Decision

The other week I got a letter; or more correctly an email with a letter attached.

It concerned my submission of a description submitted to the BBRC (British Birds Rarities Committee) for the Italian Sparrow seen here on several occasions the year before last.

Because the bird generated so much interest the letter is repeated here in full. It is addressed to the three people, including myself, who submitted a description.

Dear Carl, Andy & Phil

Many thanks for your submission to the British Birds Rarities Committee of Italian Sparrow at Northrepps, Norfolk on 23 Aug – 06 Sept 2013. Unfortunately, the committee has found the record to be Not Proven.

As you can no doubt guess, this record provided the committee with a collective headache! Ultimately, it was decided that while there was nothing wrong with the plumage of this individual, a 1st record of this species would require DNA evidence and it was unfortunate that this eluded us on this occasion. As this was submitted as an informal record, we will not publish it in the Not Proven section, but instead put it into a new Appendix entitled ‘Appendix 4. Records held where either taxonomy or identification criteria have yet to be finalised’

It is worth clarifying that a not proven vote does NOT imply that the voter believes the observer to be either incompetent or dishonest in any way, but in many cases just that there is a risk of a genuine error having occurred because not quite enough evidence could be assimilated by the observer(s) in the time available. Experienced and highly competent observers will often submit records on much lower levels of evidence than less experienced observers, but these are sometimes not accepted because the confidence felt by the observer in the field may not be matched by the detached assessment of the voters.

Requesting a recirculation

It is possible to submit a record for a recirculation to the committee. However, there are some fundamental requirements before such records can be re-circulated.

  • We would not reconsider a record at the request of either the observer or the county recorder unless there is new information given which may affect the original decision.
  • We would not consider ‘retrospective information’. This includes
    • Drawings done several weeks/months after the original sighting
    • Subsequent experience of the species

Many thanks for your submission, we hope that you will not be too disheartened by this decision, and hope and look forward to receiving further submissions from you in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Paul French, Chairman.

I guess we knew it was coming. A positive decision without DNA would always be a difficult one, however I would draw your attention to the wording

“… nothing wrong with the plumage …”

Just to rub in the salt on the very morning I received the email the sparrow once again put in an appearance at the bird feeders.

Sparrow sp

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2 Responses to “The Decision”


  1. 1 Wendy BT Mail
    September 30, 2015 at 8:51 am

    It’s no good, Carl. You’ll have to creep up on the little fellow with a plakky bag and catch some poo!! Wendy

    Sent from my iPad

    >


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