Compared to most recent years, when for example I recorded 165 species in the county in 2011, 187 in 2012 and 173 in 2013, this has been a particularly poor one with just 157 species recorded by mid December - one of my worst years on record


It's all over - 2012 has come to an end. I managed a total of 187 out of the 198 species recorded all told in Buckinghamshire - 94% of the total - probably my highest-ever annual tally.

The current record is 191 species achieved in 2006 and held jointly by both Rob Hill and Simon Nichols

Friday, 14 August 2009

The Status of RUDDY SHELDUCK in Buckinghamshire

Mike Collard has asked me to comment on the validity of Ruddy Shelduck records in the county. The vast majority as one would expect relate to escapes from collections but a few (4 in 1987 and a singleton in 1999) may possibly have derived from the self-sustaining populations in the Ukraine and Moscow.

The first records attributable to birds from the non-naturalised/partially natural populations in the former Soviet Union are those at Willen Lake in 1987 - a female was present on 24-25 July and 2 August and replaced by three males which arrived with 3 Common Shelduck on 8 September.

The following year (1988), a Cape Shelduck took up territory at Linford NR from 11-30 September, and waht was considered to be a female visited Weston Turville Reservoir on 28 March 1989. Escaped Cape Shelducks (immigrants from neighbouring Berkshire) then began to plague us, with an adult at Little Marlow GP from 13 August to 10 September 1990.

The next Ruddy Shelduck to arrive was a considered escape at both Willen lake and Linford NR on 24 March 1991, with a female at Haddenham Pond on 4 August 1992 with the same caveat. A further escape graced College Lake BBOWT reserve from 21 November to 13 December 1992 and this male visited Weston Turville on 6 April. The roaming Midlands bird returned to Linford NR on 23 August 1994 and then we had several blank years.

What was considered to be an escape from a local collection appeared on the River Thames at Bourne End on 2 January 1997 before moving east to Spade Oak GP, Little Marlow, from 15 March to 2 April. However, a group of four birds with much better credentials dropped into Wotton Lakes on 19 September 1997.

1998 then saw the arrival of up to 6 birds of captive origin - a pair at College Lake BBOWT on 18 January which relocated to Calvert BBOWT on 28 March and 25 April. A single was also seen at Padbury on 25 April. The single male at Marlow reappeared on 22 March and was seen again on 24 April, 20 June and almost daily from mid-July to mid-September. A second bird arrived on 26 July and then another on 31 July, with three birds remaining until 15 November. At least one of these remained then until 4 December. A Paradise Shelduck also put in an appearance at Marlow on 24 March 1998.

The Marlow survivor was seen intermittently from 17 February to 5 September 1999, with another individual of equal merit at Calvert BBOWT on 17 April 1999.

A bird of unknown provenance visited Calvert on 18-19 September and 19-21 November 1999.

The Midlands wandering male returned to Willen Lake on 9 April and 20 May, visiting Linford NR on 2 June 2000. That same year, a pair of Paradise Shelduck visited Marlow from 17 July to 1 September and somehow tainted the credentials of the 3 Ruddy Shelducks there from 10-31 July 2000. These latter 3 birds returned again in 2001 and were seen on and off on 28 May, 11 July, 31 July and from 10 September through to 27 October. In 2002, a flock of 4 arrived on Spade Oak on 20 April.

Records then dwindled again with a presumed escaped female at College Lake on 5 June 2003 and what was presumably the same bird again there on 10 January and 22 February 2004.

A mass break out took place in 2005, with 3 birds virtually resident at Little Marlow from 26 February to 3 March and again from 27 June to the end of the year. Five were present in August and September, with a further four bearing bright yellow plastic rings at Linford NR on 3 August. Three birds survived at Marlow from January to May 2006, but with just the single pair from July to December, whilst the long-lived male visited Linford on 18 May and Caldecotte Lake on 21 July. The resident pair remained at Marlow throughout 2007 and most of 2008, with just a single female lacking a right foot surviving into 2009.
Lee G R Evans