NZ bird Tickability lists

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
Steve Wood
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Steve Wood » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:00 pm

Hi Phil,
Sorry for the late reply to your answer to my questions. Pleased to see that you are happy to follow the trends if it is to be the way in the future.
Even if you are still not totally comfortable with what you thought was a somewhat contrived tick of your Blue Petrel there is always the possibility of another sighting in the future to put you at ease :D.
The Prions..... you probably should go to the next release when it occurs, at least you can be totally satisfied that you have correctly ID'ed a Salvin's!.

As for Sirocco... He is a great ambassador but for me, totally off the menu during his PR work..... he is a pet one, let's be honest.
However when he retires to some offshore island then he could be back on :D He is very much an exception to the rule.

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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby RussCannings » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:02 am

Hi Steve,

It's obviously a widespread practice so all good with me if the majority are happy about that (Can't cheat if there's no rules eh?). If it brings more funding into rehabbers even better. The main ethical question that comes up elsewhere is at migration monitoring stations where mistnetting occurs--I don't like the idea of holding a rarity for hte sole purpose of allowing twitchers to make it to the site. That shouldn't be a problem in NZ and rehabbed birds are of course completely different.

As mentioned previously, will also be good to have some specific points about NZ-centric issues (e.g. Sirocco to name one).


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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby philbattley » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:12 am

So I found it, I saw it, I identified it, but its lack of life means I get no credit for my awesome beach patrolling prowess... I find the argument for not being able to have it on your list weak at best. But as long as everyone plays by the same rules that's fine. We can also have a "Birds I have encountered in the great outdoors" list that includes carcasses.

So in addition to a life list, we also have a life+death list... ;)


Pat Miller wrote:Hi Folks,

An inviolable rule of twitching is that the bird has to be alive. The national list isn't a twitchers list, but this same rule still applies to beach wrecks. Although no one saw it alive in NZ waters, a beach wrecked bird can logically be assumed to have been alive in NZ waters before it washed ashore dead on a beach and was found by someone. The finder can't count it themselves, (on their life list), but NZ as a country can.

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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Davidthomas » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:24 am

Unfortunately I will admit I’m in the you can’t count released Birds camp. I agree with a lot of Russell’s and Phil’s sentiments on this, it’s like a canned hunt where you know there’s a large stag released in an area and there’s really no chance you’ll miss it. There’s not really any sport in it. And it’s the same in this case. You’re showing up knowing you’re going to see the bird which takes half the fun of twitching and birding out of the equation. And it becomes a question of who has the money and ability to miss work at the drop of a hat to go see a released bird, plus can also create two camps of people similar to work situations where you have those who’re in with rehabbers and those who aren’t similar to what happened with the lesser frigate bird.

I believe myself, Steve and Tim had a similar discussion on our drive north before the three kings pelagic regarding whether you’d prefer to always see something when you’re going on twitches or whether it would get boring pretty fast without that thrill of the chase. And I believe we all agreed that while it would contribute to having a ridiculous list it would remove a significant portion of why we twitch. The unknown of it all. Yes you remember the misses and they hurt! But you sure as hell remember the birds you catch up with even for brief periods. And they’re made all the sweeter for the collective times you’ve missed things. And that’s why I justify my position of not wanting to count releases immediately. However I would be happy counting them after a period of time, or even a night passing as that gives the bird the potential to move and roost and resume normal behaviour but allows a bit more leeway over the prescribed 24hrs described earlier.

Regarding translocations, I think they should definitely be included assuming they’re proven to be established, as otherwise there would be birds that are just deemed not tickable ever.. eg kakapo, Orange fronted kakariki, South Island saddleback to name a few. And as for the specific green chook Sirocco I’m anti him being tickable for the reason that you can’t tick birds in zoos etc. he’s a pet essentially on his tours.

Just my thoughts on the matter anyway, but I’m happy to go along with the consensus overall I will just personally probably not go out of my way to see released Birds.
phil hammond
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby phil hammond » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:46 am

I like that in the main, not completely, but in the main this controversial subject is being discussed with reasonable courtesy and respect for other's views---I like that about the NZ scene---long may it continue

On the first page of this discussion Steve pondered whether or not some "might be a bit uncomfortable putting their cards on the table"----so here is one man's strictly personal perspective

If I had gone for the cuckoo I would have ticked it

As it happens I don't have any rescue job releases on my list. That is not because I set higher standards than others---I don't make that claim, no it's simply that I havn't gone for any.

In most cases no decision on my part was required, because the birds were well and truly gone before I knew when or where the release was happening. Perhaps that secrecy was souring me a bit and a sort of "bugger it I'm not going to get upset or bother with any of these releases" was creeping into my attitude

The Oriental Cuckoo was different and I thank the people that managed and publicised that event so that we all had the chance to go for it

The decision on whether or not to spend some money and travel for it was not clear cut for me. In the end I didn't go, partly because the timing was awkward for me, [although if it had been a Spoonbill Sandpiper I would have found a way] and partly because the amount of excitement [for me] about witnessing the release was less than for a twitch where I don't know if it will still be there when we get there, don't know if we will be able to find it, or whether I will get a good enough look at it

So, perhaps irrationally, I decided to "save it up" and keep my fingers crossed that the first Oriental Cuckoo that I see in NZ might be one that I stumble across whilst out and about, or I will go on a twitch that excites me more and gives me more pleasure for my dollar.----just one man's point of view!

But I repeat ---If I had gone for the Wanganui bird and had seen it in the circumstances that the guys reported, I would have ticked it

Phil H
Steve Wood
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Steve Wood » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:23 pm

Just a quick reply to Phil’s comment about his excellent discovery on the beach.
Phil, these are all significant records that should all be logged which I’m sure you are aware of as beach wrecks. Credited to some recognition for that.
Remember - “where’s there dead ones there are live ones”. Get out there earlier next time !
Steve Wood
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Steve Wood » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:32 pm

A quick reply to David in regard to the “sour grapes” comment
Regarding who has the ability to twitch at at the drop of at hat and what their financial situation might be.
Well , as soon as you decide to join the real world, and realise that life is not all fare and equal,”the sooner the better!
Next you will be saying that professional birders and DOC workers need to have a seperate list as they have an elevated playing field and special privileges .....oh ,sorry that’s right, you are a doc worker. :lol:
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Jan » Mon Apr 08, 2019 3:48 pm

Steve Wood, have you got an electric car?
Steve Wood
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Steve Wood » Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:32 pm

Jan, I think you need to start a new thread.

How would that make any difference because I travel by plane.
Last edited by Steve Wood on Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Davidthomas » Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:40 pm

Steve I believe that that has been a discussion as to reducing the idea of privilege in regards to visiting locations vs actually putting in the time and effort; adding a professional birders list. Not that there are really any birds that are impossible to get outside of volunteering and going on the heritage tours. Black robin, Chatham snipe, petrel and taiko are all doable via volunteer programs, as are Kakapo, Whenua Hou Diving Petrel snares snipe etc.

I guess my point is if we want to create a universal list we all need to find a happy middle ground. which if this conversation is a fair and accurate representation of the reality I’m not sure we will. And I’m not suggesting it’s ever going to be fair, that’s unrealistic but I feel like acknowledging that there are issues atleast is a start. How we decide to fix them I’m not sure but we need to atleast consider it as a problem. Same as we might with professional birders vs those who aren't.

Should who holds the highest list really be about who can visit the most rehabbed bird releases? Because that removes a whole lot of skill and field time from the equation. You know the bird is going to be released, you know what it is and you know when and where it’s going to be. Unlike any other twitch or birding trip you’ll ever go on, there’s no element of risk or unknown which I think adds to the fun of it all. It’s certainly why I love pelagic birding.

Would I tick a released bird? Yes if that is what is agreed upon but i currently don’t see myself going out of my way to do so. That is my decision and doesn’t have to be yours or anyone else’s. But nor should that make me a lepper in the eyes of others because I choose to do differently so long as I fall within the rules of the aforementioned list. If anything it’ll be hamstringing me as I’ll be competing with those who do.

We’re also ignoring another elephant in the room regarding counting heard but not seen birds. As for a lot of overseas lists this is deemed as okay but I believe under the current rules it isn’t? Why? It takes equally as much skill to identify a bird based on field marks and behaviour as it does sound.

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