At 06:28 PM 5/31/02 steve siegel wrote:

>All this back and forth about the Kelp Gull is really
>quite amusing.  This angle is right, but this feather
>is in the wrong place, and the legs are the wrong
>shade of chartreuse.  So much print to convince
>ourselves that maybe it really wasn't.

Actually, that kind of back and forth is important to people who want
to learn more about identifying odd or rare birds. Examining photos and
discussing them is an important learning tool. Why do you find it
necessary to make fun of people who seriously try to understand IDing
an unusual bird? And at some point it is kind of important to decide if
things really are what they're claimed to be. Accepting everything on
the say-so of someone isn't always good if you want to have records
that are accurate. (People make mistakes no matter how good they are,
especially with gulls.) There's no reason that such discussions have to
be the sole province of the records committee. Future members of
records committees have to come from somewhere and some experience in
critiquing the evidence is a good thing for people to have. Why put
such a negative slant on the discussion? I don't see it that way at all.

>Would there be this much discussion if we had all been able to see
>it? Not at all.

If everyone had seen it, at least we wouldn't have to discuss whether
the leg color is an artifact of the way the pictures were taken. And
yes, I think there would be a lot of discsussion if more people had
seen it. The Maryland Kelp Gull has been seen by hundreds (thousands?)
of people and it was discussed a lot by people who'd seen it. A
potential first state record is worthy of discussing, especially if it
is something that will possibly be seen again and even more so if it is
a hard ID to make. Considering the way gulls hybridize and considering
that there are already some Kelp Gulls not too many states away that
have bred and produced hybrid young if I remember correctly, I would
say that IDing one is not an easy issue.

Katrina Knight
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Reading, PA

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