Looking after the Lincolnshire Bird Club (http://www.lincsbirdclub.co.uk) website has resulted in a steady number of emails asking the “I saw an interesting bird in the garden” type question…. I expect that the Birding Frontiers website gets its fair share….
Take a look at this attachment that dropped into my mailbox at the beginning of last week (March 2014) from Eunice Horspool…
It’s certainly an interesting picture, which made me look twice and then twice again! (I can 100% guarantee that there is NO photoshopping or editing to this photo, what you see is straight off the camera-phone) .
For the record, Eunice has emailed me before, including recently in February 2014 with the following photograph. (I think Eunice would be the first one to admit her photographic skills need working on…)
However, this bird turned out to be a Glossy Ibis, present at Chapel St Leonards, Lincs for approximately two weeks in February 2014 and enjoyed by many birders!
So, back to the original image.
I carefully wrote back and asked if there were any other images of the bird, which had ‘recently’ turned up in her garden…. and got the following two images (!) clearly showing two very different birds….
At this point a local birder (Nige Lound), visited the site,…..
….and found a rather ‘chestnut’ fronted………….
…………… female blackbird!
So, why is the original image so wrong! With digital cameras getting common place, I guess we can expect more ‘funny bird” photos, and with it more photographic artifacts of JPeg compression (which is clearly making the original picture look so so odd), or maybe in-camera sharpening and wrongly set features are to blame in this case?
The following image was taken by local Lincolnshire birder Andy Sims. The picture was taken on the Lincs coast last autumn (2012), using a bridge camera, with the white balance accidentally ‘wrongly’ set, and the result is a chiffchaff with a blueish tail! There was never any question that this wasn’t a chiff, BUT if this had been the only photo supplied by a non-birder, it would be a more tricky ID.
Unfortunately, no matter how much you spend on a camera, not one of the manufactures have come up with a little button labelled “40 year experience”…….
However, I mustn’t complain, over the year I have had a couple of results by following up ‘funny bird’ emails, here are two examples…
Email 1. I think I have an American Cuckoo in my garden?
Resulting in a 1st winter Rose-coloured Starling….
Email 2. I would like to report, what I believe is a “MEGA” feeding under my garden bird table.
Resulting in a white-throated sparrow (which unfortunately only the garden owner saw BUT fortunately photographed!) and was accepted by BBRC in 2010…..
Andrew Chick March 2014