I'm feeling just a little uncomfortable about the responses to the kite report and the feeling of being flamed.
When Ruth Kosche called yesterday, I was on my way out the door to work. I came back and sent the short kite report thinking if anyone else saw the bird they would be more likely to check it out with care. I'm sorry I didn't have time to give a more thorough description or to talk to Ruth longer. I got home too late last night to talk to her again. I was astonished to read the E-mails concerning my report.
Let me repeat, I did not see the bird myself. I did not expect that this would become a state record. I just thought it was of interest to the birding world.
Also let me repeat, the Kosches are honest and very competent birders. Ruth has records of birds in the area that go back decades.
When I called her tonight, she said that the bird flew across the road in front of the car. They stopped and watched the bird for 3-4 minutes. It looped up and around several times. They saw its back, its underside, its tail. Gene mentioned that it reminded him of a large Junco when he saw the tail (with the white flaring out on both sides). There was no brown on this bird, no rump patch. Ruth is familiar with N. Harriers and this was not a harrier.
I know that those who bird in the northern part of the state do not know those of us who are in the southern counties. And, we do not know you. I have been birding long enough to understand the importance of record-keeping. I am not angry or embarrassed or upset that the sighting was questioned. I am, however, not especially happy with the tone of some of the responses.
Unfortunately there is a north/south division that has developed, (in my opinion since Sally left VINS). And, like it or not, the truth is that we here are often made to feel that our birding skills are not to be trusted. There are some people down here who will not report birds any longer because of the way they have been made to feel. That is a loss to the whole state.
I am not the speaker for the whole of Bennington County. I don't enjoy controversy.
And now, let's put this to rest. If anyone feels they must continue the discussion, please contact me directly.
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