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.
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Brent Stephenson
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Brent Stephenson » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:17 am

Neil,
Your comment is exactly why I didn’t want the Birders’ Totals to get bogged down in rules. In my mind all it needs is some simple guidelines and a good dash of honesty and good intent. But, I do understand people’s wishes for some structure.
The seeing of a bird vs hearing a bird is not meant to be discriminatory. Simply providing a guideline in an area that is commonly discussed in bird listing circles in NZ and overseas. Again it was supposed to just create a line in the sand so people can compare apples with apples.
I agree with the comment regarding ‘former range’, although again that needs some work and honesty by the lister. What was the former range of X species? For example were stitchbird in Wellington in the past? Yellowhead on Ulva? And to be honest seeing takahe in Orokonui wasn’t any more exciting than seeing them on Tiri. Although I know of one very big World lister that had to see takahe in Orokonui and not in the North Island.
At the end of the day let’s not get caught up in the rules. This is all an honesty game, and at the end of the day a birders personal list is exactly that - personal. People should include on their list what they feel comfortable with, and use their own code of ethics. The Birder’ Totals was supposed to be a fun way of sharing where we are with other likeminded people...
Thanks,
Brent Stephenson
Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ - Great birds, real birders
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:29 pm

Easy to get bogged down in rules once you start down that path. I think the Birders' Totals is a good go at avoiding getting bogged. It all depends on how serious the game is going to be. Whatever set of rules is compiled, it will of course only apply to that particular game, and that is fine. They are rules after all, not laws. As you say, Brent, personal lists are personal and we can make our own judgements.
Jan's comments touch on ethics. Perhaps a parallel code of ethics would not be out of place.

Re stitchbird: "Stitchbirds originally occurred throughout the North Island plus Great Barrier, Little Barrier and Kapiti Islands." (NZBO), so Wellington would be fine.

Yellowheads were on Stewart so could probably assume Ulva ok?
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Brent Stephenson
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Brent Stephenson » Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:10 am

OK, so here goes. I have just updated the Birders Totals page on our website. Revisions include

1. addition of the a rule regarding rehabilitated birds, which are countable, as per requests.
2. slight rewording of the geographical range of the two lists - the New Zealand list and the 'Mainland' list. It seems there may have been confusion over the latter, but the limit for the 'Mainland' list is out to 12 nautical miles which is roughly 22.2km, from the North, South, and Stewart Islands. This is the territorial 12nm limit, and should fit with pretty much any day pelagic trip taken on a charter boat from any New Zealand port. Of course observers should check where they are when a bird is seen (your iPhone/android has a GPS!). This list was originally included to have a slightly different playing field for those birders that are unable to get to offshore/sub-antarctic islands, and still serves this purpose.
3. revision to the 'alive and in the wild' rule to include more information on what should be excluded ie. Sirocco
4. revision to rule 7. regarding species not currently on the list, and the necessity for a Unusual Bird Report to be accepted by Birds New Zealand.
5. a revised v3.5 of the 'The 'Official' New Zealand Birders checklist' PDF which can be downloaded here

I hope this clears up a few points, but as always I am happy to discuss or revise the above with anyone who would like to email me. And please let me know your totals if you are interested.

Cheers,
Brent Stephenson
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Tim Barnard
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Tim Barnard » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:38 am

Thanks for the tidy-up Brent - much appreciated. I guess, and as you comment, the diving petrel discussion is still ongoing - that's got a way to run.

On a related point, do you include Whenua Hou, Codfish Island, as part of the Mainland list. It is a special place for a special reason. But in the spirit of what I think the Mainland list was set up for ... it is as inaccessible as many offshore islands. Certainly not in the Tiri bracket of access.

Leave that with you ...

Tim
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Brent Stephenson » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:31 am

No worries Tim!

Hmmmm, this is an interesting point. But yes, Codfish has to be included in the 'Mainland' list otherwise there are further complications. The idea of the 'Mainland' list was not so much based around access, but distance and expense of travel ie. flights to Chathams, boat trips to the sub-antarctic, etc. A level playing field where people who either chose not to travel/or cannot afford to travel off the main islands, can still 'compete'. So whilst I recognise Codfish is difficult to get to due to access, it is less than 2nm from Stewart Island. And anyone can actually volunteer to go there, regardless of affiliation.

In my mind, the 'Mainland' list would consider a great shearwater off Wreck Reef (2.25 nm off the east of Stewart Island), in the same light as seeing a kakapo on Codfish Island (less than 2nm off the NW of Stewart Island). Would we consider Wreck Reef to not be on the 'Mainland'? Again, I feel if we start making too many exceptions or sub-rules, we just get bogged down? Don't we?

In reality, Codfish is not absolutely closed to anyone. Maybe you should hone your cooking skills?! :)

https://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/vo ... ery-cooks/

Cheers,
Brent Stephenson
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Tim Barnard
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Tim Barnard » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:31 pm

Thanks Brent ... if anyone working on Whenua Hou likes a half decent curry ... give me a call ... :-)
Have spices, will travel ... references available on request ...
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby phil hammond » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:36 pm

I don't agree with a suggestion that everyone has equal opportunity to get on to Whenua Hou or other closed islands. If you are 18, keen and fit there is every chance that you will be invited or encouraged. If you are 75 keen and fit, your chance of getting on closed islands is very low or zero.
I understand why DOC invest in youth and am not complaining. It's just another example of some of us, including myself, getting opportunities in one aspect or other that others don't.
It will never be a level playing field as Steve has already pointed out and I'm pretty sure that each of us that makes our lists public recognizes that and still enjoys it
Thanks for all the unpaid work maintaining the list and birder's totals
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Colin Miskelly
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Colin Miskelly » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:55 pm

Kia ora

Why go to the effort of maintaining a list and creating rules when Cornell University (eBird https://ebird.org/newzealand/home) does it for us all on a global scale? We may not agree with all their taxonomic decisions, but it is a level playing field (in that we all miss out on the same taxa), entries are fully transparent and peer-reviewed, and best of all, every record adds to collective knowledge about bird distribution and status, particularly if you make the effort to record every other species you observed while on a twitch (full lists are way more useful for researchers and analyses than individual species records).

Nga mihi nui
Colin
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Tim Barnard » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:08 pm

I do have a lot of sympathy with your view Colin and agree that it is a great repository for data ... (that said, I have a lot of uploading to do). I agree too that it provides a degree of rigour and openness as well. However, I use it as a repository for everything i.e. escapes that I wouldn't add to a list like the Brent's ... For me its horses for courses and I suppose the wrybill list is where most people tend to put their totals at the moment ...

I do think that any bird that requires a UBR on either list should be supported with a submission to the RBC. Again that adds rigour and puts more data in the system.

All the best,

Tim
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Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Brent Stephenson » Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:54 am

Thanks Phil. The point you make is perhaps correct, but I don't think there is an age limit, especially if you and Tim team up and practice your curry and BBQ skills! Have you actually applied for any volunteer positions?

That said, you are correct, the level playing field is in the 'rules and taxonomy', everything else is open to advantages and disadvantages. These advantages or disadvantages could be brought about by ones age, willingness to travel, disposable income, ethical stance on carbon, or job status. One could argue the real advantage lies with the retired and wealthy, who can travel to see a bird at the drop of the hat, not those in employment that might take short term advantage of seeing a few species on one or two 'closed' islands but then cannot afford to travel to twitch the rarities as they appear around the country? At the end of the day, the most important point in your post I believe, is that we should 'enjoy it', that is the key...

Colin, I don't think having a list on the Birders' Totals and using eBird are mutually exclusive are they? The Birders' Totals list was started before eBird came to New Zealand, and at a time where an updated taxonomy was sorely needed. It continues because it offers a service to those that are interested, but also because not everyone uses eBird. I openly encourage folks to use eBird - I use it regularly when I travel, and agree that it is an excellent way of giving back. Not being currently based in NZ, and the fact that much of my time back in NZ is with clients, I let them do the eBirding and concentrate on the task at hand. These days it is pretty rare that there is not at least one eBirder on our trips! I think most who have lists on the Birders' Totals page probably use it regularly - by the look of the eBird NZ page. Of course, the fact you are the top lister on eBird for New Zealand wouldn't have anything to do with your bias :lol: :lol: :lol: I agree whole heartedly with you though, eBird is excellent and should be used, especially with the upcoming NZ Atlas Scheme.

Cheers,
Brent Stephenson
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