Birding Bloopers #14

I have really enjoyed reading the birding bloopers that have been shared on the Birding-Aus forum. The contributors have been very generous in allowing me to share their embarrassing experiences here on my blog. Many of the contributions have come from Australia but there have been a few from overseas. This is the case today, with an example from Malaysia.

After several trips to Malaysia, I had collected quite a few ticks for Scarlet Minivet, mostly in montane or sub-montane habitats. Very distinctive bird, no problem with ID.


In 1995 on a wet day in Fraser”s Hill I did a bit reading through the field guides and discovered to my horror that the Scarlet Minivet only occurs below 900m. A large percentage of my sightings had to have been Grey-chinned Minivets. After going back over my notes when I got back home, my number of Minivet sightings diminished significantly after crossing out all those sightings between 800m and 1000m due to uncertainty.

Goes to show one should always read the fine print.

One of the problems with birding in a strange location or in a new country for the first time is that you basically have to start over. The learning curve is steep, especially if birding alone like I did last year in Thailand and Nepal. Carl’s experience points to the importance of doing one’s homework. Before leaving on my overseas trip I spent at least six months studying the appropriate field guides. Sounds a good theory – until one hits the trail on your own. It’s then you realise how little you’ve remembered from the books.

Thanks to Carl for permission to publish his experience here.

To read more birding bloopers click here.

Question for readers:

When did you experience an embarrassing birding moment? Perhaps it was a mistaken identification. Perhaps you didn’t look carefully enough and were later proved wrong. Maybe the bird itself fooled you in some way.

I invite readers to submit their birding bloopers in the comments section below. If it’s good enough I might just feature it in a post of its own, with a link back to your blog (if you have one).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *