Monday, November 23, 2015

Greetings From The Listserv Hall Of Fame

For years I have been reading the reports on San Diego Birds and thought that there was much ado about nothing in so many cases. Doug Aguillard has repeatedly ranted about the existence of an elite inner circle and their comrades and I figured that he was just crazy and stirring the pot for the sake of stirring the pot. But this latest news about the Le Conte's Sparrow has me wondering if Doug wasn’t right and has secretly been enshrined into his formerly hated inner circle since he has remained silent since the news came out. This can only lead me to believe he saw the bird. From what I can tell from what was posted on the group and from email responses of those people who replied to my emails I find many things amiss in the local birding people. The same people that have so many others looking up to them just flipped each and every one of you off.

First off, the Le Conte’s Sparrow could not be seen from any public thoroughfare so Terry must have been trespassing when he found it. Fair enough, most of us have been guilty of such a minor crime from time to time. Terry Hunefeld, Paul Lehman, Guy McCaskie, Peter Ginsburg, Sue Smith, Gary Nunn, Matt Sadowski , Doug Aguillard and even Tom Benson - from another county - all got a call about the bird on Friday and were able to see it. It is obvious that they all agreed to keep the matter secret as none of them called anyone outside of this secret society to share this news. Puppet Master McCaskie must have been expertly manipulating the strings once again and threatening loss of the secret handshake known only to the group for anyone who spread the word. 
As Paul Lehman shared in a post about his beloved girlfriend Barbara Carlson, there are people doing a big year that would have liked to see this bird. I can't find anyone who will say that either was there on Friday so I must assume that they didn't know about the bird. Paul couldn't even tell his girlfriend because it was such an important secret? 

In trying to cover their tracks they decided to allow some people to enter the golf course under the ruse that there was permission for one group of a limited number of people to have legal access. This was a bold lie as the group found out that there was no permission upon arriving on the scene. Any number of other people who routinely post to the list about what they find, people like Jay Keller, Mark Straton, Dave Povey, Chris Smith, BJ Stacey, Eric Kallen and Stan Walens all come to mind. Come on, Stan even 
has a worldwide known bench for birding named after him and no one thought about asking if he might want to see a county first bird. If they find a rare bird I bet all hell erupts if they decide not to share that information immediately. I don’t know of everyone who was there on Saturday but I have learned of some but it isn’t worth mentioning them since they should only be blamed for unassumingly trespassing after being lied to.

Didn’t this same thing happen earlier in the year with the Mongolian Plover and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper? Didn’t these same people try to keep that hidden until word – as it always does – leaked out? And how many other times has it happened? How can it be that Guy McCaskie and Paul Lehman always seem to get access to places that the general public is denied? It is amazing what one can find when the government is open. Searching a federal grant database I do not see either of them listed upon a grant but they are given access to Salt Works whenever they request it. How did they gain the special government powers that permit them to do so or are the local researchers complicit in the trespassing meaning they should lose their grants? Perhaps one of them will publicly profess how this can be legal. Silence should only to interpreted to mean they are guilty.

The absolute hypocrisy of Guy McCaskie and his acolytes is a sin to birders everywhere. They share amongst themselves and demand all be given by others. Sound like our current Congress perhaps? These same people have been doing this same thing for as long as they have been birding. San Diego birding is known across the country as being home to some of the best birders in the country but also as home to some of the most backstabbing birders at the same time. The only way to perhaps get them to change is to find your own birds and not tell any of them about it until it is gone. Give a dose of their own medicine to these self-appointed doctors in this drama. To those of you who do go birding I plead with you to ask people across the nation – not just San Diego and California – about these people. You will be amazed at how horrible they are thought of as people and how far the tales have traveled. 

So go find your birds and don’t share that information with any of these self centered egotistic snobs. If I had the power I would kick them off all the lists and phone trees that they belong to. I had birded for over 30 years all across the country until a car accident in 2001 left me unable to continue. I now find my birds by reading San Diego Birds and clicking on links to photos from the locals who share their photos. And, all the while, I only hope that one of those special birds will fly up to my window and bless me with just a few moments of its life. Perhaps being bedridden and looking out a window is better than having to look any of you in the eye.

Blessed Birding to ALL that share

Todd Ingess

La Jolla CA
San Diego County CA


  1. Bahahaha! Birders they are such a peculiar lot of people and yet here I am among them trying to keep it on the down low to avoid this sort of shit-slinging drama. I have to say I was amused with how this guy called out so many birders by name. However he completely lost me when he invoked religion with the "bless me" and "Blessed Birding." Funny how this shit goes on in EVERY state. Thanks for the entertainment.

    1. Todd is actually a fictional person who was invented by someone else as a platform to whine and talk shit; there is a lot of depth to the craziness here.

    2. To use an over-used phrase, "FUCKING AWESOME!" In Wisconsin that sort of post would at least garner a warning if not a boot from the email list. I suddenly LOVE Todd. ;)

    3. Well... I'm pretty sure this post did shut down the old San Diego listserv from the storm it caused after being posted.

    4. Not quite, everyone abandoned it to use a new one run by someone else. It didn't have to be that way, but where Paul Lehman posts, birders follow.

    5. New listserv, new management. I believe now you won't get kicked off if you submit ebird reports but don't post to the listserv.

  2. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Man, when people think of "bird watchers" this is probably the last thing they think of! There is definitely some dumb drama in the birding world, which can, at times, be amusing!

    God Bless and BIRD HARD!!!

    1. This is one of the first things I think of...luckily, it is ALWAYS amusing.