Monday, 1 October 2012

Birding ethics

Ethics can come later, but first I must say how impressed I am with the Albufera reserve on Mallorca.

The (fabulously wealthy) Norwegian government has SO much to learn from the (nearly bankrupt) Spanish Government about what a nature reserve/national park should be like. Come to think of it the Norwegian Government has much to learn from most other governments on this score. Here was an example of a well managed nature reserve both in terms of for birds and for human visitors. Great visitor centre, screened paths and hides and active management of the land (rather than just leaving things as they are) led to loads of birds and lots of people enjoying them.
I didn't spend a lot of time there (will return again) but had great views Night Herons, Little Bittern, Little and Great White Egrets, Marsh Harrier, Teals, Shovelers and Gadwalls, Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank and Black-winged Stilts. Passerines were represented by many Reed and Cettis Warblers and a single Pied Flycatcher.
Amongst the many Moorhens and Coots were two far more exciting species and here comes my birders ethical dilema. The Purple Gallinules and Red-knobbed Coots that you find here stem from reintroduced birds. The Gallinules are everywhere including farmed land outside the reserve and seem to be doing well. I have also seen this species before in Spain so have few qualms with  "ticking" them but the Red-knobbed Coots are a different story.
I have never seen them before so this is lifer. The first bird I saw was very close to me as I viewed from a bridge over the canal. Its proximity wasn't a problem as its Common cousins were equally close. What causes the dilema was that there was another bird next to it which had a great big white neck ring showing it to be one of the released birds. The unringed one is presumably a wild bred offspring but does this make it tickable? These were also the only two Red-knobbed Coots I saw so I don't think this species is doing so well and requires additional released birds (although I need to check up on this).
I think it well end up on my list though.....

An walk in the afternoon revealed both light and dark phased Booted Eagles and best of all a Firecrest. It is many years since I have seen one and I had forgotten what a great bird they are - a Yellow-browed Warbler has nothing on a Firecrest!

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