查看完整版本: Snowy-browed flycatcher?

quaali 21/01/2013 17:33

Snowy-browed flycatcher?

Please help ID, thanks.

請問是否 棕胸藍姬鶲, Snowy-browed flycatcher (Female)?
LV, 10th Dec.,2012

HKBWS Vicky 21/01/2013 17:40

This is Siberian Stonechat.

HFCheung 21/01/2013 17:48

"Stejneger's Stonechat" is the latest name according to the HKBWS bird list.

wgeoff 21/01/2013 21:54

Shame. Snowy-browed Flycatcher would have been so much more interesting.

Having just gone through more than 500 ID? threads on this website looking for 2012 records, I can safely say that Stonechat is by far the most frequently mis-identified or 'ID requested' species on the website.
I guess it's just too easy to see (and photograph) and looks too interesting when you see it.

[[i] Last edited by wgeoff at 21/01/2013 21:56 [/i]]

ajohn 22/01/2013 08:52

Although, on the other hand, I would argue that because this species is easy to see and relatively easy to identify, it would be a useful species for beginners to learn. In particular, learning that stonechats are common in open country habitats where flycatchers are unusual is a useful first step (how many of us would have instantly responded 'No' if this thread had been titled "Snowy browed Flycatcher at Long Valley?")

There is no doubt that certain species (gulls, some shorebirds, warblers, certain flycatchers, etc.) are much more difficult to identify, and learning how to identify common species should be the first step on bird ID. In my opinion the bird ID section of the forum would be more useful if they were not dominated by requests for ID of birds which turn out to be stonechats.

I realise that it takes time for beginner birders to learn some of these species, but I sometimes think there is a tendency to post pictures and ask for ID from more experienced birders, rather than taking the time to work it out. This wastes people's time but checking the post to see yet another stonechat (or dusky warbler, which seems to be another regular species).

HFCheung 22/01/2013 11:55

It is very important to support beginners and even intermediates.  I don't think it is too much a problem at all.

Jonathmartinez 22/01/2013 13:38

I tend to agree with John but also with HF Cheung. In my opinion a special section for beginners should be a good compromise. Same as Geoff I found this thread very attractive before I open it...
I also think that this special section should be limitee to HK birds or birds could occur in HK and same for the ID section to avoid very long series of post from people coming back from overseas trip and asking for ID of every bird they have seen there, in my opinion it did'nt bring usefull information in the matter of this forum.

Just a few thought.

All the best,


subbuteo 22/01/2013 15:15

Having been guilty of a couple of mis-id's myself recently (and only just recovering from the shame) id can be tricky, especially for the optimist. I think it is easy to forget that the majority of people perhaps only get one trip out a week and so their exposure to even common birds is quite limited.  Yes, they do need to have a go at id themselves but even then they may not even realise the group a bird belongs to or rarity. The female snowy-browed was not a million miles out by the illustration in the Viney book.  Maybe we can create a dichotomous key to first eliminate stonechat before a post is allowed! :-)

I think an ID section is valuable but agree with Jonathan that an exclusively HK section would be a good addition.


HKBWS Vicky 22/01/2013 16:08

A small change was made to the Bird ID section by adding a selection of "Oversea"/"Hong Kong" before the subject. However, this will not appear on "Latest Topics" and "Latest Replies".

wgeoff 22/01/2013 17:23

I hadn't intended to start a long discussion with what was meant to be a lighthearted comment.

But as we have started, what I find most encouraging is when individuals make a good attempt at ID themselves, even if they get it wrong.

So 'Stonechat?' or 'Dusky Warbler?' or 'Snowy-browed Flycatcher?' is very acceptable because it shows an effort has been made.

But 'ID please' for a Great Tit (or should I say Cinereous Tit), which we've had several times, is not so encouraging.

[[i] Last edited by wgeoff at 22/01/2013 17:27 [/i]]

Jonathmartinez 22/01/2013 18:27

Agree with Geoff that mention a Species even wrong is better than mechanical ID please...
I don't like to suggest idea as I really have no time to do it, but a nice one would be to write down a short guideline of how to ID birds before submit it for ID. Just to avoid the Mackinnon Chinese syndrome that make many chinese birders to take out all the text page from the book to only carry the plate that are for many species far to be usefull, and totally ignore that read the text is of importance to complete the ID.
As Geoff said, I often have the feeling that photographer send picture to know how to labelled them in their computer rather than try improve their knowledge and accuracy on bird ID.

About what Dylan said, there is really no shame on mis ID, as every birdwatcher had start birding one day and face the same problem than other for Identification.
ID birds from picture is a far more complicated excercice than seing them in the fied where many feature can not be reproduce on a pic... I also reguraly totally out...but everytime I learn.

All the best,


badesc 22/01/2013 20:01

If I may, I would like to add a few thoughts.

First, I feel that nobody should feel badly or be ashamed for any misidentification! Birders should not be discouraged by mistakes. We all make them; nobody is born with the knowledge to identify each bird correct.

We all learn from our mistakes and learning is something that ought to be stimulated. It is one of the nice things of birding: you'll become better by the years and after each mistake.

But there is indeed also another point to make. I think there is more fun in identifying a bird by yourself first, than just put a picture on a forum and wait for an answer. Of course, sometimes people have no idea what they saw, even though it is pretty straightforward to others.

That brings me to yet another point and that is that only a picture can be just a part of the identification story, but sometimes far from the whole story. I think it's a good idea to encourage birders/photographers not only to shoot some pics, but pay attention to other things (and perhaps share them on the forum when they post a picture). Such as sound, behaviour, habitat and characters that are not visible on the photograph. I think it's fair to say that some pictures here do not tell the whole story - even sometimes not enough for a final and correct identification.

Besides, do not only look at a drawing in a field guide or a book, but read the text too. It may prevent an error.

To look for all characters and elements will probably also improve birders to develop their knowledge and especially their identification skills.

Apart from that, birders who post their picture do not always get the right answer. I mean that in this example of the presumed Snowy-browed Flycatcher that is a Stejneger's Stonechat, does this birder now know why it is not the former and is the latter? In my view, no. And I suppose many will share that answer.

Of course, maybe not everybody has all the time to explain every ID in detail, but by just giving the correct name of the species, we do other birders not really a favor. How can we expect any birder to try to work out an ID by themselves, as only the correct name is given and not WHY it is that species.
If every time the characters of a Stejneger's Stonechat would be mentioned, maybe people would get to know this bird much better.

By the way, summing up all the characters that identify a species, is a welcome exercise for any birder who provides the answer, I guess. At least for me ;-)



msamuel 22/01/2013 22:01

I would like to add one point if I could

This forum would become more useful if it could also foster friendship, love of life (ours and birds'), in addition to bird information sharing.

ajohn 23/01/2013 09:13

So, my comments provoked a bit of a reaction. I was actually expecting that, and part of the reason I posted in the way I did was to make people think a bit about the pros and cons of posting pictures asking for ID. I actually have no problem with beginners posting and asking for ID, and I know that in many cases it is part of the learning process. I wasn't meaning my comments to be a criticism of quaali (apologies if it was taken as such), but the comments from Geoff made it an appropriate location to post these comments.

BUT I think that there are cases when someone has taken a picture and has made little attempt on their own to work out the species. As mentioned by others, I like the posts when someone has attempted an ID and posts saying "Stonechat?" rather than "ID please", which does show some effort has been made (and of course this thread falls into that category). There are plenty of resources to help - books, websites, etc. It does not take much of an internet search to come up with an image such as this, which (at least to me) bears no resemblance to the subject bird in this thread: [url]http://orientalbirdimages.org/search.php?p=13&Bird_ID=2684&Bird_Family_ID=&pagesize=1[/url]

I do usually try to point out the relevant features of a bird when I post a response about ID (although not always, I admit). this is to try to encourage beginners to learn about how to identify a species rather than just telling them what it is. My point was that I start to get a bit fed up after writing a number of times about the plumage/structure of a particular species, the habitat it is seen in, or the behaviour. It feels at times that I have tried to teach people about ways to identify a bird, only to see pictures of the same species appearing again after one or two days, which makes it seem like I am wasting my time. The result of this is to either write a brief answer (giving no reasons for ID) or to not bother answering at all (with the attitude that others should go away and look it up).

One final point. There is sometimes an attitude towards experienced birders that "You were all beginners once, it is your duty to help the beginners now". That is true, of course, but people should also remember that the fact that we were all beginners once means that we know how we learnt (and are still learning) about bird ID. In my case (and I think many others), this was not from asking someone else to identify a photo and moving on, but from spending time in the field looking at common birds, learning their characteristics, learning which species were more likely to be seen in a particular habitat/location, and becoming familiar with these. Yes, we all make mistakes initially but that is part of the learning process. If you are familiar with common species, it is much easier to pick out the bird which is different and rarer.

Sorry for the long thread!

[[i] Last edited by ajohn at 23/01/2013 09:17 [/i]]

quaali 23/01/2013 12:26

Thank you HKBWS for adminstering a forum for all levels of bird-watchers and the valuable opinions from experts and experienced birders in this thread are appreciated.

Although I have no bad feeling for some of the comments, I feel guilty of misidentifying a stoneshat as snowy-browed flycatcher.  In fact, the bird seems different to those stonechats I have watched before so that I was curious to find out what it may be. Sometimes, it is quite difficult to differentiate varieties of birds even reading the materials of reference books.

I agree that bird identification is a learning process and it does broaden and deepen my knowledge, but
I think bird idenification is neither the only nor the ultimate goal of bird watching.

Happy bird watching.

[[i] Last edited by quaali at 23/01/2013 13:17 [/i]]

wilsondring 18/02/2013 12:00

dear all ..

I have been birding for just under a year and the reason behind my passion mainly derived from photography as oppose to the attraction of birds in the first place .. having photographed a bunch of different speices, I find it interesting to find out more.

From a Novice's prospective, .. this forum is full of experts and it is embarassing to make a wrong ID and therefore it is just easier to put "Please Help with ID", than making a wrong and embrassing guess.

Now .. why guess?  Different plumage conditions, first winter, mating etc, .. juv/male/female ..even using all reference books published by the HKBWS, none show all different states of the birds graphically.  Another example, would be say the rosy pipit which was at LV towards end of last year, .. I doubt that most people can tell from the naked eye that the breast was at all pink in anyway!  The point I wanted to make is that ID'ing a bird really isn't easy if you do not know what to look out for .. the color of the legs, the shape of whatever ...

I have since tried to make a guess as to what the bird maybe .. Chestnut Crowned Warbler?  or Black-faced Bunting?  And I get just as fustrated as people posting photos of very common birds and asking for ID, but we have all been through that stage before, maybe for some of you, when you were beginnings, there was no such thing as internet forums to make life easier for you but it is not our fault that we have these things to help us.

giveing some sort of clue and making us beginnings think always helps more than just ID'ing and then telling us to buy a guide book!
頁: [1]
查看完整版本: Snowy-browed flycatcher?