Sunday, 7 July 2013

Ruddy Shelduck at Castle Island?

A quick call in late morning on the way back from visiting my mother who has been unwell this week. The water level continuing to drop with a large area of dry mud now at the east end, best here were 8 Common Sandpipers the first significant post-breeding group I've had this year.

A little further east, about mid-way to the weir, were two 'ginger' ducks that I instinctively thought were going to be Ruddy Shelducks before I put the scope on them. Perhaps part of the recent mini-influx into the county starting with five that flew south on 26 June at Druridge Pools and ended up at Greatham Creek in Cleveland. These two birds are presumably the same two that flew south at Cresswell yesterday, whether they are part of the earlier five or two different birds who knows.

Ruddy Shelduck and Cape Shelduck (?) Iphone Scoped with Meopix/Meopta S2 at c.200m

The timing (late summer) might suggest suggest this pair are over-shooting moult-migrants from the birds that gather at Emmeer in Utrecht, Netherlands to moult. The origins of this moult flock has been the subject of much debate, particularly by those keen to see the species promoted to either to Cat A or Cat C5 rather than Cat B of the British List (see here for example). So they're not countable (yet?) as a British tick (if you stick to BOU, as all records since 1950 have been treat as originating from feral populations) but the situation locally is also interesting as the last couple of records have been published in the main section of BiN (2009 & 2006) without reference to the probablity of feral/naturalised origin.

Edit 08/07
Sharp eyes (Thanks Stewart) have highlighted that the female shows strong characteristics (greyish head and very white face mask) of Cape Shelduck. The vent doesn't seem pale so it may prove to be  a hybrid. This might also highlight a origin close to home than the Netherlands as as recently as the end of 2012 Cape & Ruddy Shelducks were mixing in a collection at Grange over Sands in Cumbria.

1 comment:

The Liverbirder said...

Thanks for the clarity. Tried to add it via BUBO and failed. Now I know why! D'oh!!!!