Friday, 22 July 2011

Going for a duck?

Ok, before I get going on this one I'll give you all the background. A couple of years or so ago, I was fortunate to be given some files by Dominic Mitchell from a deceased guy called Roy Alderton who watched Rotherhithe (a.k.a. Surrey Docks) in the halcyon days on the 1970s. Anyway, to cut a long story short, one sweet September day he stumbled across a pair of American Wigeons (the drake intermittently seen for 11 days) - the only record for London still to this very day. And it looked like this: -
London's only American Wigeon... ever

Confiding, confused but on the London list
Perhaps it's just the timing of the photo, but does the top photo seem to suggest that the bird is squawking for bread from the photographer? And it's tricky to judge colour on black and white photos (now there's a stupid statement if ever I wrote one), but there seems to be a paleness to the mantle and scapulars, and the flanks seem pale. The coverts are well vermiculated too, but within range for American Wigeon and the plumage is worn. Here is what birding's demi-God pre-Mullarney had to say about things in a letter addressed to the observer: -

Peter Grant's letter about the American Wigeons. Rotherhithe was a former patch of this birding trailblazer, before he headed to Kent.

The BBRC have, until at least now, given this bird the benefit of the doubt... but is it time that the London list was decreased by one and we wait for one at Rainham with a feel good factor?

There were more birds back in those days...

1 comment:

  1. Hi Richard, other ducks in London do become very tame. John Widgery used to ring in Regents park and catch, mainly Tufties by hand, but still got recoveries from Russia. I don't think tameness is 100% conclusive of captive origin,