Turning up and performing well in front of the hide at the southern end of Daventry Country Park yesterday, ‘Buffy’ was finally stripped of her celebrity status as she revealed more of that tell-tale ring detail.
Thanks to some excellent images from Bob Bullock, it became apparent that our Bufflehead’s ring format does not conform to any which is used in either Canada or the USA – either now or in recent history. Digits around the centre of the ring include random numbers 38, 58, 60 (or 09) and there is no alphanumeric contact detail in smaller text above or below these numbers.
I am grateful to Chris Wood of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York who, upon receiving copies of the above images, kindly commented as follows: “Honestly, I can’t imagine this ever being used by a researcher here. Bands have been standardized for a long time now and this just doesn’t look like anything we would use.”
Danny Bystrak, Wildlife Biologist at the Bird Banding Lab, Patuxent Wildlife Research Centre near Washington, USA, also commented: “The band looks narrow and over-sized is not something I have ever heard of anyone using in the US or Canada.” [via Chris Wood]
So, there we are. Our Bufflehead has indeed gone west … along with any chance of it being a new bird for the county.
Postscript: it is reportedly back at Clifford Hill GP today.