My first of the year in Pegnut Wood today will not strike fear into the hearts of my SFYL adversaries. However, whilst I was walking around seeing virtually bugger all this afternoon, I started thinking about the veracity and authenticity of my year list. For example:
i) This business of species x being reported at site y, and self-finding year-lister z going to site y and discovering that in fact 2x are present, so claims the second species x as self-found. This sounds a little dodgy to me. For one thing, would self-finding year-lister z have visited site y in the first place if the original birder had not found species x? Are you still with me? No? OK...but I'm seriously considering taking the few examples of this kind of 'self-find' off of my list, for my own peace of mind.
ii) I 'found' a Cetti's Warbler during the first few days of the year, but it was at a site only a few hundred yards from where they have been in residence for four years (apparently). Can I really claim this? I'm uneasy with it...
...and another thing, can anyone seriously, honestly, hand-on-heart-and-without-tongue-in-cheek claim to self-find Lady Amherst's Pheasant at the site that must not be named? That would be a bit like me claiming to have self-found Black-winged Stilt during a visit to Titchwell or Thornham back in the noughties! Let's face it, the Stilt didn't breed (apart from a few forlorn passes made towards the local Oystercatchers) and neither - to my knowledge - do Lady A's, unless one or other has undergone a sea bass-like sex change in its dotage.
Just my thoughts; I don't make the SFYListing rules, but I'm sure no one will lose any sleep if I deduct ticks from my tally!