All Good In The Hood

Photo: Is it time for the BBRC to accept the Dorset Hooded Merganser ?

The long-staying Dorset drake Hooded Merganser, perhaps one of the most watched UK birds of all-time, has just reached a big anniversary – it is 8 years since this bird first turned up in bedraggled and wind-swept first-summer plumage, on the storm drain at Ferrybridge, on 5th June 2008

Now that Hooded Merganser is starting to be treated with the respect it deserves on the Committees’ side of birding, perhaps it is time for the British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC) to review all records of this species and accept all that show no real signs of captivity 

The Dorset drake has stayed pretty much in the general area for 8 years (Ferrybridge/Radipole Lake/Weymouth Harbour/Lodmoor/Poole) but, as far as I am aware, has never been proven as an escape, although it has pulled a few John Travolta moves on the local female Tufted Ducks!

Long-staying vagrants are well-documented, so a long stay from a vagrant is nothing new, its’ behaviour is nothing different from many wild North American Hooded Mergansers, the weather patterns prior to its’ arrival seemed to be favourable for trans-Atlantic vagrancy and how about the old-skool phrase “innocent until proven guilty?”

Arriving in first-summer plumage must be in its’ favour and perhaps makes its’ credentials better than some of the adult birds that have official BBRC acceptance

With the pressure on to accept the recent Midlands bird/s, could the BBRC also do a U-turn regarding the Dorset drake Hooded Merganser, and give thousands of birders a nice official tick for their lists ?


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