Two birds that I have seen locally this year have been the Mandarin duck at Eye Green Nature Reserve and the Barnacle Goose, one at Ferry Meadows CP and another one today at Baston and Langtoft Gravel Pits. The Mandarin has been 'ticked', despite being rather tame and coming to bread given by the locals, the reason being that there are four of these birds present and have bred here for the past two years (according to said locals). The two geese are a different matter;the one at Ferry Meadows has been assumed to be a 'wild' bird, I don't know why, it just has, but the one at BLGP is a 'feral' bird, a bird that has been presumed to have escaped from some collection or other and therefore cannot be counted. This bird has been present in the area for a few years now and hangs around with the local Greylags, it has become wild. I am only noting the differences in attitude towards birds of varying breed, but mostly wildfowl because it befuddles my brain. We 'tick' Pheasant, but the vast majority of the birds that we see have been released into the wild for shooting purposes, surely this is a bird that is a very questionable 'tick', the same goes for Red-legged Partridge.
Wildfowl seem to have different rules though. If a bird escapes from a wildfowl collection and goes on to survive in the wild for a number of years it will always be thought of as 'feral'. The Hooded Merganser that is present at Radipole Lake in Dorset has been thought of as an escapee, then accepted as a wild bird and now is being classed as an escapee again. The same goes for Bufflehead. A very rare 'wild' bird here and every bird that is seen in the wild in the UK has to pass the 'escapee' tag before a 'twitch' is on the cards. Some of you may remember a few years back a Richardson's Canada Goose that was present on the north Norfolk coast for a while. Myself and my friend Chris went to see this bird along with quite a few other people, but this goose was classed as an escapee by some and a wild bird by others. I don't know if it will get accepted as a wild bird and so therefore I haven't 'ticked' it, although I know a few people who have.
|Drake Hooded Merganser (taken at Slimbridge WWT)|
|Female Bufflehead (taken at Slimbridge WWT)|
|Richardson's Canada Goose (taken at Slimbridge WWT)|