Monday, 4 October 2010

Baikal Teal

Following on from the recent sighting in Essex, I checked my records for the Minsmere bird which I saw 23/12/2001. I had seen on the 'net that this record had been accepted onto Cat A but I couldn't find it on the BBRC site. I contacted Nigel Hudson who kindly replied with this message.
"Fair cop. The British Birds magazine web-site is about to be updated and we (BBRC) will be following a few months later. As such it is not getting updated on such things as those lists you reference.
But the 2009 BBRC report due out in a week in British Birds, and as the extract sent to you in the last email, will clarify the position and mentions the Minsmere bird"
Baikal Teal Anas formosa (1, 2, 0)
2002 Oxfordshire Dix Pit, Stanton Harcourt, male, 22nd–24th December, photo (S. Thomson
et al.).
2001 Suffolk Minsmere, first-winter male, 18th November to 29th December, photo (P. Green,
W. T. S. Miles et al.); see Brit. Birds 95: 524, now on Category A.
After a long and chequered history, this species finds itself once again on the British List. A recent
review of the status of Baikal Teal was initiated by BOURC on the basis of evidence for natural
vagrancy in Denmark, based upon the analysis of stable-hydrogen isotopes (Fox et al. 2007).
Another analysis of stable-hydrogen isotopes, this time of feathers from a first-winter male Baikal
Teal shot in Essex in 1906, yielded very similar results to those from the bird collected in
Denmark, strongly suggesting natural vagrancy (Votier et al. 2009). This, together with an investigation
of the captive status of Baikal Teal during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,
and the age and moult cycle of the Essex specimen, meant that it was accepted as the first
for Britain (Harrop & McGowan 2009). Following on from these results, the first-winter male at
Minsmere, Suffolk, in 2001, at a suitable location and excellent time of the year, was then
accepted onto Category A of the British List, while the Oxfordshire bird in 2002 also turned up at
an expected time of year and with no indication of captive origin.
(Breeds E Siberia from Yenisey River E to Anadyr & Kamchatka, N to 70ÂșN.Winters South Korea & lower Yangtze
River, China, with small numbers regular in E & S Japan.)

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