Since the Group’s formation in 1987, there has always been a requirement that for records of certain scarcer species, an acceptable description was necessary before the record could be included in the Annual Report. In more recent years this was modified slightly so that an acceptable photograph could replace the full written description.
It has now been decided to make a fundamental change to this procedure to recognise circumstances where the person claiming the record can show they have an acceptable degree of previous experience in respect of the species concerned. Therefore, from 1st January 2016, subject to the exceptions outlined below, a written description and/or photograph will not be required where the claimant of the record has previously provided to BOG, and had accepted, at least two descriptions/photographs of the species in question.
Descriptions, regardless of experience, will continue to be needed where:
- The species is one for which, until relatively recently, the Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union needed a full description
- In the case of two indicated species, the record is based only on flight views
- The record is based solely on call or song
The current BOG Description List is set out. It is much in line with the one which has been in operation for several years, and the additions to it largely reflect those species where YNU have recently passed responsibility for assessment of records to local groups. Those species invariably requiring a description are indicated by the letter ‘D’. Many others are not so designated, simply because the scarcity of previous records means that no observer falls into the “Two Accepted Records” category. Similarly, the list of species appearing on the recording form available via the website does not include many of the scarcer ones, and the two lists should be read in conjunction. The YNU and the British Birds Rarities Committee will, of course, continue to need descriptions in the prescribed form of any scarce species falling under their jurisdiction, and any such records should preferably be submitted via the Group Recorder.
In addition, the Group has always reserved the right to call for a description of any species, usually where the bird is seen out of season or in unusual circumstances, and this will continue. Records will be assessed by a panel consisting of Howard Creber, Ian Hargreaves and Keith Moir, and we would urge contributors to submit their descriptions to Stephen Lilley, the Group Recorder, without delay, rather than wait until sending in their total records at the end of the year.
Finally, it will, we hope, be appreciated that, particularly in view of the more relaxed arrangements, no records will be considered for inclusion in the Annual Report where the description requirements aren’t met.
Keith Moir (on behalf of the Records Panel) 2016