From: R.J. Fairbank <>>

To: "martin.kitching" <>>; <>>; <>>

Cc: <>>

Subject: Re: RE: [UKBN] Honey Buzzards

Date: 07 November 2000 16:44

>> From: "martin.kitching" <>>

>> -----Original Message-----

>> From:

>> To:

>> Cc:

>> Sent: 01/11/00 15:29

>> Subject: Re: [UKBN] Honey Buzzards


>> >>"Nick Rossiter" <>> clinging to what appears to

>> >>everbody else to be an obviously flawed theory wrote:


>> I'm sorry but not everybody else considers this an obviously flawed theory.

>> I will come to my own views shortly but first I have to say that I am aware

>> of other birders who privately support Nick's hypothesis yet are unwilling

>> to voice their opinions on UKBN. When one considers the appalling level of

>> abuse to which Nick has been subjected

>I wouldn't condone abuse either, but did I miss it? I think people have generally been very patient with NR despite him failing to address (any of) the concerns raised by them. A bit like gently shutting the door on a Jehova's Witness after half an hour of 'discussion'. Perhaps the most negative comment I've seen was sent to NR privately and >then kindly shared with us by him. But I note that this was sent after your posting and even if it hadn't been, calling someone stupid and suggesting what they'd written absolute crap isn't quite my idea of an "appalling level of abuse".

Clearly standards of debate are not high at Sussex University.

>A bit rude perhaps, but the last part isn't far off my feelings about some of NRs argument anyway!

Marvellously patronising. Thanks Richard!!

>I also wrote:

>> >>The peer review from members of UKBN (including a number of people who

>> >>indisputably know what they are talking about) is an almost unanamous

>> >>thumbs down. Why prolong the argument?

>eliciting the following response from MK:


>> People who "indisputably know what they are talking about" generally don't

>> have to resort to personal abuse to make their point.

>I had Chris Mead, Graham Ekins, Brian Unwin & Geoff Dobbs in mind when I made

this statement. I don't recall much personal abuse from them either, a bit of

sarcasm perhaps, but then perhaps you are overly sensitive?

>> As a professional scientist I know a good paper when I

>> see one, and Nick's analysis is of a quality sadly lacking in the popular

>> birding press.

>The latter point is as maybe but I'm not alone in believing that NRs paper is far from scientific and fails to address the points made by many, and concisely summarised by Mike Crewe.

Richard, science relies on evidence and its interpretation. There appears to be no ornithological evidence to support a continental origin. Indeed the ornithological evidence available including Movements in Denmark and Accompanying Species seems to make the hypothesis for a continental origin rather weak.

Kind regards ... Nick

>>Richard Fairbank

>>West Sussex sceptic

As an addendum, concerning your scepticism over how rapidly raptor populations can rise, I read in the Sussex Bird Report for 1999 ("your local report"!!) an article The Current Status of the Buzzard in Sussex by Martin Kalaher (p.173-176). This shows a very high rate of growth in numbers of Common Buzzards from c25 pairs in 1997 (West 17, East 8) to 44-47 (32-34 West, 12-13 East) in 1998 and 38-50+ in West Sussex alone in 1999. So numbers in West Sussex have increased by at least two times and possibly three times in two years. Raptor populations are increasing very rapidly where habitat and game interests allow.

Also note the start of this article: "[in mid 1990s] With few pairs thinly spread the occasional pair may have been missed. All suitable areas may not have been closely watched and some observers may have been hesitant to reveal a breeding site, anxious to prevent unwelcome attention or interference". Obtaining reliable data from raptor populations at low density is far from being an easy matter.