More on the Clifford Hill Bufflehead

The lady shows her ring …

… but the detail is indiscernible. I spent some more time with the Bufflehead this afternoon, hoping to see some ring detail – any ring detail – which might help shed some light on its origin. At one point, it came out of the water and stood on the bank but its visit to land was all too brief and, before I could get the scope focussed for a digiscoped shot, it was off again and back into the water. It’s also difficult to capture any decent images or video as, most of the time, it seems to be very active, constantly diving and spending 80%-90% of its time below the surface.

However, I did manage some more video, from which I took a series of grabs showing the ring, which appear below. Image A would suggest there is some inscription in the middle section of the ring, but this is far from certain. Blow-ups don’t help, either.

Female Bufflehead, ring on right leg, Clifford Hill GP, 25th June 2017, videograb.

For comparison, here are two videograbs of the 2015 Bedfordshire bird, which was also ringed on the right leg. The proportions of the rings look similar but may not be.

Drake Bufflehead, ring on right leg, Priory CP, Bedfordshire, 29th October 2015, videograb (Mike Alibone)
Drake Bufflehead, ring on right leg, Priory CP, Bedfordshire, 29th October 2015, videograb (Mike Alibone)

They also appear to be similarly proportioned to Canadian duck rings, also illustrated below. None of this actually means, or proves, anything, of course, but it would be nice to get to the bottom of where this bird actually originated.

Persistence is required, waiting for the next time it sits out on the bank … Interestingly more Buffleheads have been seen in June than in any other month and in central England than any other area in the UK. Thanks to Andrew Cook and Mark Hill for pointing this out (source: Rare Bird Alert).

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