1000 First Country Reports!
One of the original sections that we developed for HBW Alive is the First Country Reports
page, which you will find under the “News” tab. You can either browse
the reports or search by species and/or country and you can sort the
results by post date or title.
But what is a First Country Report (FCR)? It is a short piece of news
about a bird species being reported in a country for the first time. The
details of when and where the bird was reported are given, with more
data when available, including photographs, links to references, etc.
The FCRs added to this page are a positive “by-product” of another
service that we provide to HBW Alive users, which are the checklists of
the species recorded for every country and many particular regions (e.g.
many island groups). To do this, we need to keep up to date with
reports of new species added to the official checklists that exist for
various countries. In addition to monitoring these checklists, we are
also alerted to FCRs from other sources. For example, nowadays word of a
new species recorded for a country spreads quickly thanks to the
Internet, with Facebook being a prime channel for this. Sometimes the
exciting news of a species’ FCR is almost instantaneous given the speed
of social media!
So, we have been adding entries to the FCR page, with images whenever
possible, as soon as the news reaches us, usually via the net. The large
number of records being uploaded to the FCR page, since the first one
on 9 December 2014, suggested that there was a good deal of interest and
that it might be wise to create a “spin-off” dedicated solely to these
FCRs, separate from the main Newsletter. We gave it a try and it has
since taken on its own life, producing an independent newsletter sent by
email to the people interested in this kind of information every
Friday. If you aren’t receiving the FCR weekly newsletter, you can
subscribe to it freely on the First Country Reports page.
The reason why we are highlighting the First Country Reports in this month’s Editorial is that the number of FCRs hit 1000 last Friday, 14 September 2018, with the addition of a first record of a Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
that was photographed on 13 September 2018 at Saco dos Flamingos,
Angola. We almost didn’t have time to celebrate this goal, when just two
days later we already added another FCR, of an Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica)
found dead on 16 September 2018 at Bustan Hagalil, which will be the
first record for Israel, if it is accepted as a genuine vagrant.
Please bear in mind that FCRs is a “News” section and we are uploading
reports of these species, not official records. Obviously, we scrutinize
the information and we don’t upload reports that are not fully
convincing or where doubt exists regarding the identification. We have
even taken active part in discussions regarding some identifications.
Some of the cases in which we participated include the first Oriental
Pratincole (Glareola maldivarum) for Finland (correspondence with the Finnish Rarities Committee) and the first Upcher’s Warbler (Hippolais languida)
for South Africa (a lively discussion in the Global Rare Bird Alert
group in Facebook). We made an even more important contribution when the
first European Greenfinch (Chloris chloris) for India that had been published in the journal Indian Birds
was discussed and published as a reidentification in the same journal
by Magnus Hellström and myself! So, our aim is not only to spread news,
but also to contribute to the quality of the information.
We encourage readers from everywhere to help us to maintain the FCR section. Any news of a FCR can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the people who have
been especially helpful in assisting over the last few years, sending
records that had passed under our radar, etc. In this respect we owe
special thanks to: Luis Mario Arce, Patrick Bergier, David Bishop, Oscar
Campbell, Ron Demey, Juan Carlos Fernández-Ordóñez, Prasad Ganpule,
Phil Gregory, Martin Kennewell, Christopher König, Dominic Mitchell,
Georges Olioso, Cristián Pinto, Bram Piot, Chris Sharpe and Adrian
José Luis Copete
Editor, HBW Alive
Updated Species from the Illustrated Checklist
Our efforts continue with updating the
passerine splits derived from Volume 2 of the Illustrated Checklist,
both the original “mother” species and the resulting “daughter” species.
Last month we completed all “new species” (resulting from splits) of Cardinalidae (Cardinals).
At the same time, we are adding multimedia links to the completed “new
species”, with the families Sturnidae (Starlings) and Cardinalidae
The multimedia links added to the accounts
by our team serve to enhance the comprehension of the already detailed
texts. Some of our recent favourites include links to all species of
genera Centropus, Spilornis and Saxicola. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have!