Tuesday 16th March 2021

A rare birding trip away from NO. On Sunday 15th March a drake Baikal Teal was found on Ripley Farm Reservoir south of Ringwood in the Avon Valley. The news was kept to a handful of observers. One of these people added their record to eBird and as a result the news services, RBA and BirdGuides, reported it the next day.

The bird wasn’t seen on the Monday but Ian rang me on Tuesday to say that the bird was showing again and so I headed down there. Just as I was leaving home the Hampshire Rarities WhatsApp group reported the news, given this I was surprised by how few people were on site when I arrived, no more than half a dozen. The bird was asleep with Wigeon on the far side of the reservoir. It woke up occasionally during the next hour or so.

Baikal Teal photos by Ian Williamson

I saw an adult drake in Cambridgeshire almost exactly two years ago. This bird was also with Wigeon and eventually headed north but remained in the UK at Druridge Pools, Northumberland until July, I think the record has been rejected as a result. Time will tell as to whether the Hampshire bird shares the same fate, it may even be the same individual.

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