normal Lady Amherst's Pheasant

8 years 5 months ago #592 by Andy Musgrove
One of the features of BUBO Listing is that we take a fairly "hands-off" approach to vetting people's lists. We prefer to trust people to be honest in saying what they've seen, and this seems to work well in general.

However, I can't help being a little bemused about the way that Lady Amherst's Pheasant is starting to appear on a few lists based on the escaped individual in Norfolk at present. Lady A used to be an established introduced species in Britain, but was found mostly in Bedfordshire and adjacent counties (and these birds are now all but extinct - perhaps entirely extinct?). Although it bred a couple of times in Norfolk in the early 70s, these birds failed to produce an established population. Since then, single birds are seen very occasionally, but at such a frequency as to show they are clearly individual escapes from collections, not part of an established wild population. Adding the current West Rudham bird to a life or year list is clearly not appropriate, unless you are in the habit of ticking any escaped bird you come across. If so, there are often a few Reeves' Pheasants at Buckenham/Strumpshaw you might want to go and look for too - spectacular birds but clearly not an established population.

Unless any Beds birders can say otherwise, it appears that Lady A is no longer available in Britain. Indeed, it is questionable whether those of us who saw them before they died out should retain them on our lists, as they clearly proved not to be a "self-sustaining population" in the long run.

Sorry!

Andy

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8 years 5 months ago - 8 years 5 months ago #593 by Nick Moss
Replied by Nick Moss on topic Lady Amherst's Pheasant
Hi Andy

I did add it briefly to my list (presumably what you refer to in your comments) based on the West Rudham bird I saw yesterday, though I have now removed it after looking into it further and later today establishing that it has escaped from the keepers house. Birdguides did not initially put this bird out as an escape, although they subsequently have done. Its provenance has yesterday become clearer, as many suspected an escape.

I agree that it is barely tickable nowadays, having today read that there are just 3 males left from the introduced but established population of birds. Sadly clearly not self sustaining as there are no females left. I had not appreciated the full situation with these birds (or the lack of them).

Still nice to see though. I wonder how many have this ticked on their list when they have seen similar unringed but escaped birds. As you say, should they be on people's lists anyway as an introduced but evidently non-sustainable population?........its a difficult one, but perhaps this explains people's lack of strict ethics regards subsequent sightings of such birds where the species has been introduced but failed to sustain (I can think of no other comparable uk species), well at least in this case to a point where its origin was unproven.
Last edit: 8 years 5 months ago by Nick Moss. Reason: addenda

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8 years 5 months ago #594 by Andy Musgrove
Thanks Nick - I wasn't referring specifically to you - I'd just noticed a surprising amount of interest in it that's all. Certainly agree they're stunning to see!

There is no similar UK species yet, but it is conceivable that Golden Pheasant and Ruddy Duck, for different reasons, may present the same issue for new listers in the future.

Andy

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8 years 5 months ago #595 by Steve Lister
Hi Andy
Ruddy Duck is not/will not be in the same category as the population clearly was established and self-sustaining until the government decided to get rid of them.
Cheers
Steve

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8 years 5 months ago #596 by Andy Musgrove
Hi Steve - yes, good point of course - the reason behind it disappearing (if it does...) is different. It will still (potentially) become category C6 though

"C6 Former naturalized species – species formerly placed in C1 whose naturalized populations are either no longer self-sustaining or are considered extinct, e.g. Lady Amherst's Pheasant Chrysolophus amherstiae."

We'll see...

Andy

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8 years 5 months ago #599 by John Martin
Replied by John Martin on topic Lady Amherst's Pheasant
The argument in favour of ticking Lady A's, if you saw them long enough ago, would be that the population actually was sustaining itself (hence BOURC, not known for their impulsiveness, adding it to cat C) until some new factor started what looks like a terminal decline. They used to be in woods with a very thick ground cover of non-native shrubs such as Lonicera nitida, if I remember rightly from the 1980s. Might changes in woodland management have caused their decline? Does anyone out there know? - I'm sure locals will have some ideas about what happened and I'd be interested to hear about it.

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8 years 5 months ago #600 by Andy Musgrove
Good point John. I guess a major candidate for a change in woodland structure would be the increase in deer density - Roe, Muntjac and Fallow in these woods I guess. We're pretty sure that deer densities are strongly implicated in Nightingale declines (amongst others). Ironic I suppose if the demise in one non-native was due to another - Muntjac chomping Lady A habitat.

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8 years 4 months ago #615 by Paul Downes
Replied by Paul Downes on topic Lady Amherst's Pheasant
A further problem with the "Lady A" at West Rudham was that it looked likely to be a hybrid. Red patches on the breast indicate some Golden genes making it a "Goldherst". We had a similar bird on Bringsty Common in Herefordshire recently, another wall jumper. :silly:

As an aside how many people are counting the White-tailed Eagle releases on the east coast of Scotland, the tagged Great Bustards or countless dodgy wildfowl?

Last winter we had a small Canada Goose (probably Taverner's) along the Wye initially in Herefordshire and later Breconshire, among 250 Canadas. Not inconceivable that it was a genuine transatlantic flyer, and indeed if one arrived in Wales what would be the most likely species it would associate with - Canada Goose. But it will never have a chance of getting through as a accepted vagrant, wrong place and wrong company. I wonder how the Ross's Geese will fair?

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8 years 4 months ago #616 by Peter Jones
Replied by Peter Jones on topic Lady Amherst's Pheasant
Also, an increase in golf course was presumably a major factor in the Brickhill birds' demise :(

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8 years 3 months ago #628 by Tony Stones
Replied by Tony Stones on topic Lady Amherst's Pheasant
Andy

Presumably the Lady A's which were formerly at Pentre Halkyn Cemetery in North Wales fall into the same category as the Brickhill population. Any idea how many years ago the PH birds were last seen ?

Tony

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8 years 3 months ago #633 by John Martin
Replied by John Martin on topic Lady Amherst's Pheasant
I recall seeing a brood of small young and, also a nest with eggs, in the cemetery at Halkyn in summer 1980. I last saw them there (6) in 1988, though even then they might have been recently reintroduced(?). Those birds were always considered distinctly more dodgy than the Beds ones and were perhaps never self sustaining. Not sure when they were last seen but found a bird forum thread from 2005 asking the same question.

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8 years 3 months ago #634 by Andy Musgrove
Have just checked in the BTO library. There is a Clwyd bird report for 1993-95 which lists Lady A for Halkyn for 1994. We then don't have any reports until 2000 (not sure if any exist?), by which time it seems to have disappeared.

Andy

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8 years 3 months ago #635 by Ian Foster
Replied by Ian Foster on topic Lady Amherst's Pheasant
I remember a fair few people used to twitch and tick these birds in the early 90's. I tried on several occations but never connected! It was always thought these birds were released from the large estate that the cemy backed onto, with warnings not to tresspass on their property, although i heard reports of the Pheasants wandering around on the lawns!

The last time i remember one reported was around 1995 (or maybe 96') when a male was reported together with a Golden Pheasant!!! With that news i decided to give up on them and eventually saw one in Charle Wood, Bedfordshire.

From what i know they were never self sustaining and most birders knew this but opted for the "lazy tick"?

Cheers Ian.

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8 years 3 months ago #636 by Samuel West
Replied by Samuel West on topic Lady Amherst's Pheasant
Understood. Removed.

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8 years 3 months ago #637 by Andy Musgrove
Of interest, the latest British Birds includes the report on non-native breeding birds in the UK in 2006, 2007, 2008. They're clearly hanging on still (or were in 2008) in Bedfordshire:

2006 - six males at three Beds sites
2007 - seven males at three Beds sites but no females seen
2008 - five males at three Beds sites

Cheers

Andy

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7 years 10 months ago #694 by Nick Page
Replied by Nick Page on topic Lady Amherst's Pheasant
Know this was a few months ago but it reminded me of the situation in north America with birds like crested mynas which are now extirpated. I had quite a few discussions with my birding friends when I lived just south of Vancouver in the US about the fact it was taken off the checklist and how they wanted to keep it on theirs as they had seen them etc etc. I understand their point as they were established for a long time, is it any different than if say, collared dove or little egret were extirpated here? Should it be down to a minimum time? (apart from the whole natural/introduced thing).

I guess, as always, it is up to the individual.

The one I always struggle with is waterfowl, if some are OK, how do you tell the difference between them and the plastics......

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7 years 2 months ago - 7 years 1 month ago #820 by Ben Millar
Replied by Ben Millar on topic Lady Amherst's Pheasant
Hi,

Resurrecting an old topic here, but I saw a Lady Amherst last week.
I was in ******, in Bedfordshire, on a photo shoot and wandered into the woods for a pee. This very distinctive bird came out for the bushes and legged it away from me.
I didn't know what is was until I did a bit of research, but it was definitely a Lady Amherst

So the breed appears to be still hanging on in there!
Last edit: 7 years 1 month ago by Mike Prince. Reason: Location of sensitive species suppressed

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7 years 2 months ago - 7 years 1 month ago #828 by Ben Miller
Replied by Ben Miller on topic Lady Amherst's Pheasant
Ben Millar wrote:

Hi,

Resurrecting an old topic here, but I saw a Lady Amherst last week.
I was in ******, in Bedfordshire, on a photo shoot and wandered into the woods for a pee. This very distinctive bird came out for the bushes and legged it away from me.
I didn't know what is was until I did a bit of research, but it was definitely a Lady Amherst

So the breed appears to be still hanging on in there!


Ah. Right. So this explains why I've received a couple of phone calls in the last week asking me where the Lady A's were...

I've never been aware of any other Ben Miller/Millars on the UK birding scene before, so to clarify any potential confusion, this Ben Miller has no idea how to see Lady A's in the UK at the moment.

In fact, I've not seen one in Britain since the 20th March 1999 in Lowe's Wood on the Bucks/Bed border, with a number of others including LGRE and Rich Bonser. The last Bucks record I know of was a calling male I heard with Simon Nichols et al on the 1st of May 2005 at Back Wood near Bow Brickhill.

So, sorry, can't help anyone!

Cheers,

Ben Miller,
Bucks Tring, UK
@Bob_Tag
Last edit: 7 years 1 month ago by Mike Prince. Reason: Location of sensitive species suppressed

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7 years 1 month ago #830 by Ben Millar
Replied by Ben Millar on topic Lady Amherst's Pheasant
Ben Miller wrote:

Ben Millar wrote:

Hi,

Resurrecting an old topic here, but I saw a Lady Amherst last week.
I was in ******, in Bedfordshire, on a photo shoot and wandered into the woods for a pee. This very distinctive bird came out for the bushes and legged it away from me.
I didn't know what is was until I did a bit of research, but it was definitely a Lady Amherst

So the breed appears to be still hanging on in there!


Ah. Right. So this explains why I've received a couple of phone calls in the last week asking me where the Lady A's were...

I've never been aware of any other Ben Miller/Millars on the UK birding scene before, so to clarify any potential confusion, this Ben Miller has no idea how to see Lady A's in the UK at the moment.

In fact, I've not seen one in Britain since the 20th March 1999 in Lowe's Wood on the Bucks/Bed border, with a number of others including LGRE and Rich Bonser. The last Bucks record I know of was a calling male I heard with Simon Nichols et al on the 1st of May 2005 at Back Wood near Bow Brickhill.

So, sorry, can't help anyone!

Cheers,

Ben Miller,
Bucks Tring, UK
@Bob_Tag


Hi, wasn't aware the location of the birds should be kept under wraps :blush: They are certainly safe, it's not a place the public can go.

I'm not a member of the birding scene, I just joined as I saw the pheasant and this seemed the place to report it.
Funny fact for my namesake Ben Miller - I grew up in Tring!!

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7 years 1 month ago #832 by Ben Miller
Replied by Ben Miller on topic Lady Amherst's Pheasant
Ben Millar wrote:

Funny fact for my namesake Ben Miller - I grew up in Tring!!


What a coincidence.

I don't recall any namesakes! When were you in Tring? Which school did you go to?

Cheers,

Ben

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