CONSTITUTION for the EBRC
Voting Committee members are nominated by the serving Committee on the basis of their expertise in bird identification in the UAE and other relevant regions, and their willingness to play a role in maintaining the UAE bird records.
Non-voting Committee members generously donate their time to fulfill other vital roles such as maintaining the UAE bird records database, publicizing the work of the EBRC and advising on policy matters.
Oscar Campbell - Abu Dhabi (Chairman, voting member)
Mark Smiles - UK (Secretary, voting member)
Simon P. Lloyd - Dubai (voting member)
Huw Roberts - Al Ain (voting member)
Khalifa Al Dhaheri - Al Ain (voting member)
Tommy Pedersen - Dubai (Bird Recorder, non-voting member)
Peter Hellyer - Abu Dhabi (non-voting member)
Ahmed Al Ali - Sharjah (non-voting member)
Jacky Judas - Fujairah (non-voting member)
Assessment of Records
Records are judged on their separate merit. Decisions are a considered opinion as to whether a particular record carries enough evidence to reliably support the identification and do not represent an assessment of the observer. Non-acceptance does not usually mean that the Committee believes the observer was mistaken; rather that Committee considers that the evidence presented is insufficient to establish the identification beyond reasonable doubt. However, in addition to the evidence submitted, observer experience of the species, or potential confusion species, sometimes informs a decision.
A number of species occurring as vagrants to the UAE are extremely similar to congeners and / or involve subspecies or populations from regions of the Palearctic that are not well studied by ornithologists. Observers submitting records of such species are advised that only extremely detailed, well-documented records that have been compiled from in-depth observations are likely to reach the required standard.
For any record to be accepted, all members of the EBRC need to assess it and vote, and a 4:1 decision has to be reached. All votes are maintained on file and are strictly confidential.
The Committee would like to receive records as soon after the original sighting as possible, ideally within 4 weeks. The ‘field description’ should be based on field-notes taken during the observation or very soon afterwards, preferably written without reference to identification literature. Such literature can be referred to elsewhere in the RBR, for example in the section for characters used to eliminate similar species. Please include any field-sketches made, however rudimentary; these are often invaluable.
The Committee reserves the right to ask for additional information on any record, including scan-ins or photocopies of original field notes.
Resubmitted records are compared to the original, to ensure that they only include information overlooked at the time of writing the original. Information that contradicts the original or detail added retrospectively, such as drawings done several weeks after the original sighting, will not be considered; nor will subsequent experience of the species.
Advice on decisions
Decisions on all submitted records will be posted in a downloadable Excel file, download here
The file lists the date, species, location and decision.
Please note that, in addition, all records, once accepted by the EBRC, are incorporated into the Annotated Checklist (can be downloaded from the same link) with full dates, location and observers.
An observation will be classified as one of either:
- Accepted. Placed in Category A.
- Accepted (D). Escape not ruled out. Placed in Category D.
- Accepted (E). Definite escape. Placed in Category E.
- Not proven. Insufficient evidence for acceptance.
Recent decisions, November 2019:
Decisions may take a few months to reach, particularly during migration periods. The location of the UAE means that we receive many records of difficult-to-identify or less well known species/genera than would be expected in western Europe for example, so many reports require detailed research and consideration before a verdict can be made. This may include referral to experts in the UK, Europe, Africa, Asia or elsewhere in the Middle East. Additionally, all Committee members have extensive work/family/non-birding commitments which can slow the process of assessing records. However, the EBRC will endeavor to publicize all decisions within 6 months of receiving RBRs.
Submission of photographs as Records
The circulation of individual photographs is a good way to help resolve many identification issues. However, problems can arise in cases where identification is based on minute or potentially variable details that may not be accurately captured by a photograph; in such cases only sharp, high resolution images will be judged as record of a rare bird if submitted without a full RBR, and should at least be accompanied by brief details of the sighting, including date, time, location, weather and observer(s).
Images of poorer quality are still useful and can be included in an RBR to supplement the written description. The description should highlight any discrepancies between the photograph(s) and how the bird(s) appeared in the field.
All photos submitted to uaebirding.com & its Forum may be included in RBRs, unless otherwise requested.