9th June. Time To Take Out The Trash!!

As the parentage of the Margate Dusky Thrush continues to court controversy (a bucket load of Canesten won't make this troublesome thrush go away) I find myself in a bit of a quandry. What if this bird had been my 500th? It wasn't my 500th, but on my list of what I do count it was number 499. When I say "what I do count" it is not all, strictly speaking, legit! If it had been 5 0 0 then I would now be in the frustrating position of removing it (at least until the BBRC have ruled on it either way) and continuing to lust for that elusive milestone.

I've always tried to tow the BOU line, though in a few instances I've gone with my heart, or to be more truthful with what some of my peers would consider acceptable. Up until the late 1990's Rob and I were fairly competitive with each other and where we were agreeable we counted certain species that were either not recognised by the BOU or accepted as 'wild' by the BBRC. Rob long since gave up the childishness of twitching and moved to where the birds come to him. I on the other hand still partake in the odd dash around the country, the thrill of seeing a new bird still very strong.

The thrush got me thinking. Perhaps I should remove those questionable birds off my list and remove all possibilities of having a bad taste in my mouth when I hit that magic number - sometime in my mid-50's if my current form is anything to go by!

So here we go time to cleanse my birding soul. As I start this I have a rough idea of what's coming off, but some I expect could be a bit of a surprise and at the end of his I suspect I'll rather wish I had kept the skeletons locked in their cupboard....

Based on the BOU list on BUBO these are the ones that have to go!

Photo by R.Dunn www.richarddunn.blogspot.co.uk 
Lesser Canada Goose: On return from Shetland in October 2005 I called in for a Richardson's type with Barnacle Geese in Northumberland. Good credentials apparently, but the species is yet to be formally added to the list I'll take it off and leave it pending.

Ruddy Shelduck:  The 5 or so birds many saw on the Hayle Estuary in 1994 (whilst en-route to the Scillies) were widely added to many a list including mine.  Of course they were probably feral birds from near Europe.

Baikal Teal: After deliberating for a few weeks I added the Flamborough bird. With that gaping hole in the secondaries it's probably best to see what the 10 Rare Men say now.

Lady Amherst's Pheasant: I never bothered going to see the birds in Bedfordshire, I did see the Halkyn birds several times and counted them. I'm actually happy to leave these on because at the end of the day they're all (though admittedly beautiful bird) plastic and the very fact that the Bedfordshire birds have almost died out is probably due to them never really being self-supporting the relics left being totally reliant on the weird man of the Chalfonts spilling his seed in the woods in order to lure punters down....

Slaty-backed Gull: Still pending with the BOU and given the hybrid possibilities I'll wait and see.

Thayer's Gull: See above.

Alder Flycatcher: Another one pending, but given that some photos were that clear that biometrics could be taken it shouldn't (hopefully) be too long before it goes back on.

Dusky Thrush: Already covered that one!

Mugimaki Flycatcher: Taking this off really hurts, though I guess several reassessments by the BOURC haven't changed the situation and it sits firmly in category D. Arse!

Indigo Bunting: The Wells/Holkham bird of 1988, despite turning up the same day as an East Coast Cliff Swallow and Waterthrush, was deemed unacceptable due to abnormal moult. I couldn't be arsed to go for the Ramsay Island bird in 96', something that I regret a bit - though drab buntings don't float my boat.

So in that short exercise I appear to have wiped out 10 species. Oh hum, I expect four of them will make it back on in time and maybe another Mugimaki will turn up and promote the original one to its rightful place on cat A.

I feel clean now my list is pure BOU, no Irish, Manx, Channel Islands, cage hoppers or birds in cardboard boxes.

Interestingly had I applied the seemingly popular UK400 Club rules I could add an astonishing 19 species, taking me well over 500! Though given that these rules are made by a megalomaniac with absolutely no scientific backing I'll stick to the BOU...