Not surprisingly the recent claim of a Steller's Eider off Morfa Nefyn turned out to be bollocks. I must point out that I was sceptical from the very start, in fact when it came on the pager as an unconfirmed report I proclaimed to a birding colleague that 'I would bare my arse in Burton's window if that turns out to be gen'. Call me a cynic if you like but something seemed wrong with this one from the beginning for instance who the hell would pack in birding and take up golf? Only the Six-million Dollar Man with his bionic eye would have been able to notice that a small duck on the sea looked odd whilst walking down the fairway, the golfer not the duck. As it transpired some moron nicked a pic (taken in Finland) off the internet, flipped it round and sent it to the North Wales recorder. What is alarming is that it took over a week for someone to realise that the exif data just didn't add up i.e wrong dates and taken with a semi-pro setup etc.
Sadly with access to ever developing technology this is something that will increase in coming years. I couldn't help reminiscing and smiling about a hoax that took place in North East Derbyshire back in the early nineties that had one 'leading local birder' almost camped out in the hoaxers kitchen. Originally tentatively claimed as a Siberian Accentor it really gave locals the runa round and even made it into Birding World (see below) Several 'birders' even bizarrely claimed to have seen it!! Hilariously this hoax turned out to be a model, apparently the perpetrator was caught red handed trying his luck a second time but with a new specimen at a local nature reserve. Not quite sure what drove the bloke to this he was actually a birder rather than a Joe public having a laugh but I suspect it was originally a bit of a joke on his mate that went a bit too far.