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Note that these comments are based ENTIRELY
from sources OTHER THAN the original observer,
except for the original, signed submission letter
stating the sps., dates, and locations
(with the photos).

That is to say, it is nothing more than conjecture,
speculation, and hearsay. No CBRC member EVER
spoke with me about the sighting, prior to making
the following comments.

Actual text from CBRC file of record.

Re:Record #35-1991
Species: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Date / Location:6/7/89 - Torrance, CA
Status:Rejected (2 for to 8 NO)

CBRC Voting & Comments of Above Record:

Committee Member: Michael A. Patten
Date of Review: 6/24-29/92
Decision: Rejected


I heard about this bird when it was first
reported in June 1989. The observer claimed that he
was in his mother-in-lawís backyard in Torrance when
a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher came hurtling over the yard.
Apparently the observer just happened to have a camera
with a telephoto lens hanging over his shoulder at the
time. Not only that, but based on the angle from which
the bird is approaching, he would have had to identify
the bird immediately at a great distance, get the camera
over his shoulder, and have enough time to snap two
photos as it flew by, making sure the whole time
not to get any trees, homes, or other large objects
that litter the Torrance skyline in the photos.

If this is not incredulous enough, I heard that the
observer first reported this bird as only a sight
record. After much pressure from some folks, he
claimed that he had taken photos of the bird.
When asked to produce the photographs, he pulled out
two slides that showed a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
flying by, one heading to the left and one heading
to the right. Amazingly, the duplicate prints made
from the slides show the bird heading in the same
direction. Huh.

Lastly, this bird, which is said to have been present
on 7 June 1989, was not submitted to Guy McCaskie
until sometime after 23 December 1990, which seems a
long time to sit on a record. The date can be derived
from two clues: the observer offers his condolences
to McCaskie on the passing of this wife. Hilda passed
away in October 1990. Also, he mentions the Little Gull
in Santa Cruz. That Little Gull (rec. no. 3-1991)
was discovered by Paul E. Lehman on 23 December 1990,
while a large group (including the observer) were
birding the area after having seen the Brambling
(rec. no. 196-1990).

In the end, I just have too many concerns and questions
about this record to feel anything but uncomfortable
with it. Perhaps some of the information I heard in
1989 was in error; if that is the case, then I will
re-evaluate the record once someone can ease my
concerns. Surely anyone would admit that the whole
situation borders on unbelievable. I request a
re-circulation, unless the record is rejected.

Committee Member: D. Roberson
Date of Review: 7/12/92
Decision: Accepted


I know absolutely nothing about this record
or this observer.
I am not sure if I have met him,
although I suppose this is Mattís brother. I have no
idea why this is circulating with the "permanent"
suspense file. I suppose this means that there is some
question as to where this photo was taken. If so,
I have no information to back up such a question.

The photo looks correctly identified. I accept.

Committee Member: Joseph Morlan
Date of Review: 7/17/92
Decision: Rejected


The identification is not really in doubt,
but I would prefer
to see the original slides before accepting this.

My understanding is that one of these
photos is printed backwards.

Committee Member: Scott Terrill
Date of Review: 8/6/92
Decision: Rejected


Discussions with those familiar with this
record make me hesitate to accept it. If this record
goes another round, I will wait for comments from
committee members more familiar with the circumstances.

Committee Member: Peter Pyle
Date of Review: 8/16/92
Decision: Accepted


Although I take it the validity of this
record is questioned, there is no direct evidence of
this with the record; thus I will vote on the basis of
what I see. My vote could easily change based on the
comments of others. If there is suspicions that the
photo was taken elsewhere, why donít we confront the
observer? The thought of litigation over the validity
of bird records makes me nauseated. What has this
country come to? More honest and direct encounters
overall is one way to change things. Iíll be happy
to talk to the guy if no one else wants to.

The photographed bird appears to be an adult male in
plumage that would typically be found in early June.

Committee Member: Jon L. Dunn
Date of Review: 9/11/92
Decision: Rejected


Iím afraid that I lack full confidence that
this bird was photographed in Calif. It strains the
bounds of credibility to believe that one would go
out to have a smoke, see a Scissor-tailed flying over
and have the presence of mind to raise his camera and
get two shots. Given all of the other credibility
problems with this observer, I have more than a few
doubts. If the original slides were submitted and
the dates stamped by Kodak on the slides were within
a month or so of when this bird was claimed, I would

Committee Member: Paul Lehman
Date of Review: 9/20/92
Decision: Rejected


Inconclusive circumstances. And, as my
mama used to say ... If you canít say something nice ...
Sightings by this observer in summer 1992 sound a bit
damning as well.

Committee Member: Matt Heindel
Date of Review: 10/6/92
Decision: Rejected


Oh brother! Well, what could be wrong with
this ... it looks fine. NOT. There is some concern
on a local level that this record is fraudulent and
that the photos were not taken at the stated location.

There are some odd things involved. How likely is it
that someone would go out for a smoke and have their
camera? Or, get off two pictures without a motor
drive of a fly-by? Or, if it were on a wire sallying,
and he returned to get his camera and it made a couple
of sallies, why are there no shots on a line?

Since when has L.A. had blue sky in June? If I see
original photos I will accept it, but this is not a
request to obtain them. It seems best to let this die.

One more thing, apparently the original prints show
two birds going in opposite directions, but the slides
have this corrected?!?

[End of CBRC comments]

Next ... my analysis.
Record Discussion
An initial analysis of what happened

Scissor-tailgate Timeline
My Story (a sorta timeline)

The CBRC & Me