DavidHowdon's picture

Really, it is

Observed: 17th February 2012 By: DavidHowdon
Amateur Entomologists' SocietyLondon Natural History SocietySelborne Society
DavidHowdon’s reputation in BirdsDavidHowdon’s reputation in BirdsDavidHowdon’s reputation in BirdsDavidHowdon’s reputation in Birds
0004 Anser fabalis (Latham, 1787) (Bean Goose) and 0007 Anser erythropus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Lesser White-fronted Goose) - Buckenham Ferry, East Norfolk (VC 27), 17th February 2012
0004 Anser fabalis (Latham, 1787) (Bean Goose) and 0007 Anser erythropus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Lesser White-fronted Goose) - Buckenham Ferry, East Norfolk (VC 27), 17th February 2012
Description:

Very poor photos, it was a lot closer than I thought I'd get to the thing but still beyond what my camera and lens could really cope with.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

ophrys's picture

We believe you!

...but I challenge anyone to agree from the photo!

Ian
_________________

My Flickr photos...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52163027@N02/

DavidHowdon's picture

Agreements

I agree the photo is not adequate. Which is why I provided some field notes in the notes section.

David Jardine's picture

Eye ring?

David

did you see what colour the eye-ring was in this bird? If you can confirm your observation on this feature there may be enough to agree to it....even if the photo is poor.

Many thanks

DJ

DavidHowdon's picture

No

It was too distant (in the poor light) to make out that feature.

David Jardine's picture

Too bad

I think we should leave this out of the iSpot database, even if there were reports of LWFG in the area, as you have not been able to record one of the distinguishing features which would have ruled out confusion species.

All the best

David

DavidHowdon's picture

iSpot Database

Well I'm not sure the iSpot database is used for anything (I submit my records to the proper recording schemes myself so inclusion here is not relevant) but if you want you can add a general "grey goose" alternative ID and people can agree with it should they not want to accept the record.

Personally I am happy with my ID, even without seeing the eye ring, based on the noticeably smaller size of the goose. The main confusion, Greater-front, would be only slighly smaller than the Beans, probably not noticeably in the field.

The hybrid goose showing a white blaze in that area (which I did not see this year) is also larger.

All that said this record isn't very important, it is a known bird and well observed, so if people want to disagree that it is safely IDd I'm not going to get upset.

ophrys's picture

Long-stayer

I am assuming that this is the bird that was around for a long time, so I am sure David is right.

Personally, I am not happy agreeing if the picture does not show the key features, though. I know we should trust people's descriptions (and I do in the case of David), but some people just get that description from a book, when they get home, not from what they actually saw!

Ian
_________________

My Flickr photos...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52163027@N02/

David Jardine's picture

Record assessment / agreement

As you say it is a matter of judgement and trust: both of the information provided and the observer. I was willing to trust David H if he had seen the key feature.

I would find it difficult if all observations were based entirely on photographs as this too has issues:

- some groups/taxa are inherently hard to photograph (eg seabirds)
- some distinguishing features are not conducive to photography eg calls, and for other taxa smell & taste. At least with could we can use sound recordings.

Generally I would like to see a greater use of the dscription fields in i-Spot as identification purely from photographs for a number of taxa may be unsound.

All the best

David J

Ray Turner's picture

On None Photo Observations

The OU specifically point out in their literature for the course S159 Neighbourhood Nature possession of a photograph, though desirable, is not necessary to participate. Now it is necessary to submit observations to complete the course so either it is sufficient to just say “I’ve seen a sparrow” (as some do) or a full description should be provided (from field notes I would say). Assuming a full description, including diagnostic features, is given then by implication the observation should be agreed with.

On a personal note: I often have a look at a guide to assist in putting together my iSpot ID notes, either to get some help in making sense of my rather poor and chaotic field notes or to answer the ‘what’s the proper term for that bit?’ or ‘what would you call that colour?’ type questions. I try to do this after I have put the skeleton ID together; I wish I had a pound for every time I think “they will say I’ve lifted this straight out of Collins”!

Ray

Ray

ophrys's picture

Agreed

Agreed that ID from a photo is not always possible; that's not a problem, just leave it at genus level or whatever - not everything needs a specific ID.

Unfortunately, all too often when the description field is used it is only to churn out description taken from a field guide or from Wiki! And how many people still take field notes, these days?

Ian
_________________

My Flickr photos...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52163027@N02/

David Jardine's picture

Lets encourage them to!

Perhaps we should ask them to scan their notes and then attach them!

DavidHowdon's picture

Could ask

I have seen some entries where people have uploaded a field sketch so the idea is not impossible.

That said if you think identifying the goose from that photo is difficult interpreting my handwriting would be another matter entirely.

DavidHowdon's picture

Description field

I do wonder if iSpot should say a little more about what the notes field should hold - i.e. details of features observed in the field. I suspect a lot of inexperienced people would not really think that is what it is for.