Explanation of ABS principle
First and foremost, the way provincial societies work elsewhere in Europe is the societies have a recorder, this is a person who correlates all bird records that are submitted and then enters them onto a central database. When a locally rare bird record is submitted along with normal bird sightings the recorder has to determine if this is a valid entry, if so he accepts the record and it is entered onto the central records – database, if the rarity refers to a nationally rare bird the record is then submitted to the national rarities committee, with full details and comments also made by the society’s recorder, in this instance the recorder would await confirmation of acceptance or rejection before entering the bird onto the provincial database.
The above is standard practise with any regional/county/provincial bird society.
ABS Rarities Committee
ABS Rarities Committee replaces the recorder (see above) in determining if the bird record is acceptable as a local record/rarity or not. In the case of a national rarity then it would be scrutinized and then passed onto CR-SEO (with notes) for acceptance/rejection.
Why a Rarities Committee as opposed to a recorder?
The committee is made-up of persons outside of the society and with the necessary expertise to consider any rarity in an impartial way. The person submitting the record would be unknown to the committee and therefore avoid any political fallout or conflict of interest. In our experience there have been numerous conflicts between recorders and persons submitting data on the basis of favouring friends or simply persons disliked by the recorder, strange but an unfortunate occurrence in various societies.
The important point here is that all records received for national rarities will be passed on to the CR-SEO for final judgement.