As of 10 November 2015, a total of 430 species have been recorded this year

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Wednesday, 9 December 2009


For its 19th consecutive day, the juvenile ROSE-COLOURED STARLING is present in the back garden of ''Hagg Hill Top'' - please respect the privacy of residents of this village


  1. Please note access is only available via public footpath. Please KEEP to this and do not trespass on private property or farmland.

  2. Ian Kinley very kindly provided an accurate insight to the background to this record

    ''On the morning of Saturday 21st November, a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling was found and identified by the owner of a house near Kendal. It didn't take him a while to work out what it was and he didn't need a local birder to make the identification. At about 09.30 he phoned a friend, a local birder, to inform him of the bird's presence in his garden and stating that he was willing to accept visitors to see the bird. Those birders who it was felt could respond immediately were informed via the local grapevine; few, if any, of them knew the house owner or the accessibility of the location. That morning, about a dozen people, not all of them birders and some invited directly by the owner, saw the bird from inside the house. The owner was asked if he was willing for the news to be released more widely and the answer was a definite no. He reached this decision without being influenced by any tales of rampant twitchers invading the area. There did not seem
    any way that the bird could be viewed from public land and this has been borne out by subsequent events. As a result, in accordance with the house owner's wishes, the news was not released to the bird information services nor were any more birders contacted (other than any that the owner himself may have informed), .

    After Saturday 21st November, until it entered the public domain, to the best of my knowledge, no-one was told of the bird's location other than by the house owner himself. News was eventually released to the bird information services as a result of a breach of trust and the directions provided, irresponsibly in my view, proved inaccurate and misleading. If the owner is indeed now saying that he is happy to receive visitors then he's had a change of heart. He was contacted by email as recently as Tuesday 8th December and asked about access but has so far failed to respond.

    I'm well aware that these so-called special invitation events are a source of considerable disquiet but I don't see how else this could have been handled. Should the news have been released prior to anyone visiting the site, establishing the circumstances or consulting the owner? I think not. Should news have been released against the wishes of the owner? Again, I think not. This was not a case of news being deliberately withheld so that a privileged few could enjoy a bird denied to others, it was a case of respecting the wishes of the finder/house owner. There may be those who think no-one should go to see a bird before news is released to the bird information services but I'm afraid I'm not so strong willed myself. I appreciate that some people may be unwilling to accept this but that's the way it is.

    I expect criticism in some quarters for my part in this and I'm willing to accept constructive comments on how it could have been handled better. However, before too many people jump on the bandwagon, I'd just say that I can already hear the distant rattle of skeletons in cupboards and, to chuck in another metaphor, people in glasshouses...

  3. Pete Marsh provided this very detailed and very sensible response

    I was sent an e-mail “inviting” me to be part of a select group who
    might want to see a Rose-coloured Starling in a private garden. I was
    told at the time “20+ had already seen it”. I didn’t find this e-mail
    until late at night and texted/emailed RBA for them to deal with the
    record how they saw fit. The site and public footpath info was
    published early the following morning

    The reason I did this is that I firmly believe that slow release of
    information within the birding community is quite the wrong way to go
    about it

    In this respect, if Rob P-J had limited knowledge to just a few
    family/friends, possibly including a birder or two, this would have
    been unfortunate but completely acceptable in the long run. Therefore
    the “birding scene” would have heard about the record at the end of the
    year or after it had gone. Not a major issue.

    However, it was clear when I was “invited” is that several Cumbrian
    birders had been informed in their capacity as recorders/high
    profile/as Mike puts it “senior CBC” etc. These were not “friends and
    family, but birders informed because they were “high profile”.

    I don’t know whether this comprised anyone involved in assembling
    Cumbrian records/writing bird reports etc from the start but this is
    where decisions should have been taken by these birders which either:

    a) attempted to negotiate limited access for all e.g. a three day
    window for hat would be no more than a trickle
    b) if this failed, neither go and see the bird themselves, nor pass on
    the information

    As soon as a chain reaction of privileged elite is set in motion, it is
    a recipe for trouble. The very people setting this train of events in
    motion are those expecting the same people they are denying the
    information to, or at best relegating them to “18th day or later”, to
    send in their records to share with others via the county bird report
    etc etc.!.

    It is not an excuse to say that the “householder wanted information to
    be released slowly”. The householder is not a birder, he is an
    excellent naturalist/site manager whose main interest is in moths, a
    group of insects where it is often sensible to regulate the information
    flow . There are some similarities with the release of information on
    this bird with the Rosy Marsh Moth he discovered at Roudsea. Similarly,
    I am sitting on the location of the recently discovered Lancashire
    Netted Carpet as the Touch-me-not habitat is very sensitive and can do
    without tramplers. Therefore policies on the likes of moths tend to be
    more similar to those over rare breeding birds and are not necessarily
    the appropriate action for a lost vagrant

    Therefore it was up to the “seniors” (as Mike describes them) to point
    this out to Rob and stop any slow drip-feed of information in its
    tracks, and try and negotiate option a) above.

    A parallel of sorts in Lancashire was the way Steve White dealt with
    the first (and still only) Dartford Warbler for the county which was on
    a private grouse moor (pre any right to roam issues) where a
    medium-sized twitch was not possible. He was told, didn’t go himself
    and told no-one whilst the bird was still there. Correct action. There
    are no recriminations over this as we eagerly await the second and
    hopefully easier county record

    On a more general point, I think county recorders/records committees
    who routinely adopt either drip-feeding information or simply keeping
    it amongst themselves are being very foolish and the attitude will only
    put off birders sending in their records

    Conversely, it is equally wrong to put excessive pressure on a garden
    rarity finder, with neighbours to think about, to release the
    information. This is why, in these circumstances, I believe option b)
    above is the only solution..

    Pete Marsh"