In June 1985, a Swallow-tailed Gull (a breeding bird of the Galapagos Islands) appeared at Hopkins Marine Station in my home town, Pacific Grove, California (see lead photo on my home page). This was an extraordinary vagrant -- very likely attributable to the greatest El Niño of the century -- but the record became very controversial. I did have an opinion as to whether it was wild or not. That opinion is expressed in this phrase: "firstname.lastname@example.org."
Like any translation, we first translate the words and then put it all together in the local idiom:
"Hurray for the Swallow-tailed Gull at Monterey Bay, California, that was erroneously rejected by the California Bird Records Committee"There is a shorter, punchier way -- more in rhythm with the Internet address -- to state the same sentiment in private.
[Readers should recognize that while there is a point being made, the tone is light. I have been a supporter of the CBRC -- I served on it for 13 years, five of those years as its Secretary -- but occasionally it does make mistakes. The Committee is conservatively structured so that most errors will be a rejection of a "good" record rather than acceptance of a "bad" one. Fortuitously enough, this particular mistake on the June 1985 Swallow-tailed Gull was rectified on re-review some 14 years later.]
Some readers may not know that CBRC deliberations are through the mail, with members writing comments supporting their votes. Records may circulate for up to 4 rounds, as did the Swallow-tailed Gull at Monterey Bay that was present for 3 days in June 1985. As an example of the type of analysis undertaken, I have reproduced my CBRC votes on the Monterey Swallow-tailed Gull from the second and fourth circulations of the record: HERE. These votes were during the initial review, and not later after another Swallow-tailed Gull appeared off the Farallones.
The generalized approach in those votes may have value in addressing other records in which the issue is whether a vagrant occurred naturally or not.