"....The truth is out there."
-- Dr. Jerome Jackson, 2002 (... & Agent Fox Mulder)
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
"All truth passes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."
-- Arthur Schopenhauer
Saturday, December 01, 2012
-- From Louisiana --
Received a letter yesterday from Louisiana searchers with information they wish to pass along for the benefit of any other active searchers. The verbatim letter below:
"We have just returned from several areas in LA and MS where we observed drought habitat conditions. This has triggered a good oak mast crop. We recently received, credible, repeat site reports from LA in an oak dominated ridge in a residential area, and after visiting believe that Ivory-bills could be disproportionately in oak dominated, higher areas near the first bottoms or second bottoms during the upcoming seasons.*********************************
Fred Virrazzi, Franklin Wiley and myself, a botanist, were camping in the tupelo-cypress dominated first bottoms when we recorded no insects under several square feet of bark peeled from dead boles of multiple species. Internally to six inches, the standing dead wood was also dry.
We were skeptical of any sightings in a residential area but upon videoed interviews, review of field notes and ecological observations we surmised these were likely good sightings in a wooded residential area surrounded on three sides by first bottoms. Most importantly the 300 acre area was a ridge, perpendicular to a large river with tens of thousands of acres of decent bottomland and this higher strip had many Live Oaks and other species producing mast. The observer was very reputable; the bird flew away upon detection of slight movement the two times it was observed perched.
Fred noted that mast attracted Ivory-bills to Wadmacon Island, SC in the 1930’s and that historical literature describes it as an Ivory-billed food resource. In modern times Guthrie and Everett noted a possible connection between mast and Ivory-bills.
In drought years borer insects can be harder to find and acorn crops can be heavy; it could be a time to look for birds in higher, wooded areas near the bottomlands.
National Biodiversity Parks"
I have inquired of them 1) if there's any chance the "videoed interviews" would be publicly available at some point (or, alternatively, if anyone from Cornell, LSU, or USFWS have viewed them), and 2) if they're able to be any more specific about the LA. location they are referring to, but have not yet heard back. Perhaps they can respond here in the comments at some point...?
The letter was to give a general observation of where some IBs could be ranging.
The interview video could be released (perhaps on IB Lives?) but editing and permissions need to be worked on. I will be out of the country shortly with another trip after that. The sighter likes his privacy but was open to being filmed. He was glad that someone responded to these recent events; a sighting many years ago which he reported to some entity received no response.
Not sure of the purpose of letting Cornell, LSU, or USFWS see videos of a person. I took pictures of his field notes which to us where solid on many levels. He has a very serious duck hunting and engineering background. He is either a blatant liar or saw an Ivory-billed. His cumulative evidence could be presented to the LA BRC; collectively the IB searcher community has not put much on the desks of the state BRCS which would at a minimum establish a documented record of unconfirmed locations.
A few trees in the area are being time camed; there is the small chance of something materializing. I am awaiting to see a frame FW has found---a possible underwing---sounds weak though.
The river corridor has been mentioned in modern times as having IBs so only needs to be called LA at this time for several reasons.
Absolutely false. Even honest people can be very undependable observers.
"If scientists invented the legal system, eye witness testimony would be inadmissible evidence." Neil deGrasse Tyson
And, after being told countless times that this is an ultra-wary bird of the deep wilderness,
we are now expected to believe someone has seen the bird several times in a residential neighborhood??
We are not talking about the entire set of honest people....we are talking about one honest person. He correctly IDs quick flying species on the wing repeatedly, had good notes, good ecological context(unbeknown by him and you), correct seasonality, etc.
You could be taken seriously if you had asked even one question such as: how many key field marks were in the notes, were any marks wrong, distance viewed from, time seen, did you bird with the fella, does he have Pileateds in his yard everyday, did he look in a guide before the notes, etc.
But you haven't. Says a lot about how you vet potentially important reports, whether they are true or false.
After your comprehensive level of due diligence....we are all reassessing our opinions. Ha
Thanks for the laugh.
A total and utter joke.
Nothing will come of this, no birds will be filmed, photographed or seen by any independent observers.
Your fascination with mistakes is self-evident.
Do you think we should warn the helicopter company whose blueprints he read that there may be a serious liability concern?
Such as the alleged habit of transposing white for black on 3 occasions, general failure to recognize basic spatial patterns on 3 occasions, hearing things that weren't so, etc.
Until certain pseudoskeptics tick their life Pileated they will not understand the near impossibility of mistaking the subject species, assuming a several second view.
Which one of these were a mistake?
a) Kulivan---1999 Pearl River, pair of Ivory-billeds seen for several minutes from 50 feet away?
1. Highway 29, Collier Co., Fla., about 1950
Observer: Ornithologist Allan Cruickshank, father of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Notable: Today Highway 29 is the western boundary of Big Cypress National Preserve.
2. Chipola River, Calhoun Co., Fla., 1950-52
Observers: Whitney Eastman, vice president of General Mills, Muriel Kelso, Davis Crompton, and John Dennis. Notable: Crompton and Dennis had found Ivory-bills in Cuba in 1948 that Dennis photographed. In the Chipola River Swamp, conservationists, land owners, and government officials established a wildlife sanctuary, but after no additional sightings were reported, sanctuary status was discontinued in 1952
17. Loxahatchee River in Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Florida, April 1985
Observer: Dennis G. Garratt. Notable: He watched the bird from 25 to 40 feet away for about 15 minutes.
21. Cache River, Arkansas, February 2004
Observer: Gene Sparling. Notable: Later that month, Sparling led Tim Gallagher of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and photography professor Bobby Harrison along the Cache, and Gallagher and Harrison saw an Ivory-bill. Their sighting sparked the search that confirmed the Ivory-bill's existence.
and many, many more.
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