Baikal Teal, Fen Drayton RSPB, April 2014
Baikal Teal which, as the name suggests, originates from north east Siberia, has only been recorded in Britain as a genuine vagrant on a handful of occasions – until recently that is. Then, just like London buses, they come along in ‘threes’! First there was the ‘for one day only’ bird at Flamborough last April, next there was the much watched mid-winter bird at Crossen’s Outer Marsh, Lancashire (see my blog, 6 December – ‘Banks Baikal Bonus’) and then last Saturday another turned up at Fen Drayton RSPB. We had a spare hour or so on Friday afternoon so decided to go and look at it. Although rather distant it was a gorgeous looking thing – complete with black ‘side-burns’ this time, and which added to it’s wild credentials by disappearing over night! It was later relocated elsewhere on the vast net-work of lakes that are part of the Ouse Washes ‘Living Landscape’. Of course it’s just possible that these are either escaped collection birds and/or the same bird (certainly in the case of the last two records) – but with the arrival of another bird in Belgium at the same time as the Fen Drayton bird, who knows? We’ll just have to wait now whilst the relevant rarities people adjudicate on their authenticity.