An interesting stat for your consideration. Two weeks ago I stuffed up a Gull ID, called it a Caspian, and it wasn't. A bit of a howler. I posted photos of it up on the web. Within 24 hours, these invited no fewer than eight public comments, and four private ones, ranging in tone (as I interpreted them) from "You idiot, how could you possibly have thought that was a Caspian Gull." to "Nice try, Gulls are sods, better luck next time". So, twelve comments about getting it wrong.
Yesterday, in a minor miracle, I appear to have got it right. Same process, photos mailed to a few people, and photos up on the same website. You can probably guess where this is leading. Yup, public comments on my Gull identifying prowess - zero. Private comments, four.
So what could this mean? That people are busy? Maybe. The cynic within me that rarely surfaces thinks different though. Now I posted up the photos because I want to learn, not because I am in need of public adulation. Reputation? Hah, as if! I am rubbish at Gulls, happily admit this fact to all and sundry, and I was half expecting to have got it wrong again, but I am happy to be humiliated in my quest to become a better birder. I know this makes me appear a bit holier than thou, but I'm serious about it, and though I may joke about it on here, I was straight back to grilling gulls shortly after my dismal failure. Anyway, there is not a great deal of literature out there about Caspian Gull ID, and what there is somewhat heavy going. Tertials? Most people lurking on the web are probably better birders than I am and have looked at Gulls for much longer. The South-east seems to be Caspian Central, and so I value their opinions. But cruelly, there is this thing called Human Nature, and birders suffer from it just as everybody else does. There is no fun to be had when somebody has got it right, no belittling available, no scope to show how amazing you are versus the rest of the planet, so what's the point? I hope I'm not sounding too bitter...
Let's lighten the mood. Here, have a Gull photo. I'm pretty sure it isn't a Caspian as it has a yellow eye, but beyond that I have no idea. 1w Med Gull perhaps?