What happens to me when I know there are experts around?
When I was at my friends' farmhouse, I unerringly spotted all the birds that I knew (and impressed my friends a great deal, a very pleasant side-effect)...well, all except that Red-Necked Falcon which had three experienced birders in discussion. And when I go to Lalbagh, even by myself, I have no hesitation at all.
But let me just realize that there is a senior birder around, and I lose my touch. What if I am identifying some bird wrongly? My tongue gets tied, my tonsils swell, the bird-name remains unspoken on my lips...and there is a huge question mark over my head. When the senior birders thought they saw an owl in the gloaming in Bannerghatta National Park, my eyes told me it was a part of a tree, but I *knew* I must be mistaken and they must be right...and I strained to see the owl in the dusk until the other birders realized, too, that it was a bit of a branch.
Believe me, this happens to me even with fields in which I know I am knowledgeable...Carnatic Music, for instance...I know perfectly well it is Raga "A"...and can explain lucidly to a friend sitting next to me...but let a knowledgeable music fan sit next to me, and the simplest of ragas and thalas will have me wondering if I have got it right or not! I am an expert...but I cease to be one in the presence of another one.
Self-confidence...not enough of it, I guess, and the humbling knowledge that my "knowledge" can be wrong....I guess I will never be the confident.ringing-tone authority on anything, that I would like to be!