In the Recent reports section of the February 2009 issue of BB, a photograph of a goose taken at Wells, Norfolk, by Gary Thoburn (plate 73) is captioned as being an adult `Black Brant’ Branta bernicla nigricans. From experience gleaned through the years in north Norfolk, I would say that the bird is in fact an intergrade between a dark-bellied Brent Goose Branta b. bernicla and a `Black Brant’. The bird is too grey on the back and breast/upper belly for a typical Black Brant, despite having a well-marked white neck-collar and flank patch that would suggest that form. In north Norfolk, mixed pairings of Black Brants and dark-bellied Brents with hybrid offspring have been noted at Burnham Deepdale/ Burnham Norton in JanuaryFebruary 2001 (with four hybrid juveniles), Wells/Holkham in the winter of 2004/05 (with two hybrid juveniles) and in the winter of 2005/06 (with three hybrid juveniles) (Bloomfield & McCallum 2001; Norfolk Bird Reports 20012007). Since then there have been at least three returning birds showing mixed characters such as those depicted in plate 73 (good neckcollars and flank patches but far too grey on upperparts and breast) in the Burnham area and at least two (but maybe more) in the Wells/Holkham area, one of which is the bird portrayed in BB. With mixed breeding seemingly occurring more regularly than previously suspected, the pitfall of intergrades is something that certainly needs to be considered when confronted by a likely Black Brant candidate.Andrew Bloomfield 20 Lancaster Road, Blenheim Park,
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BB 2000 Ltd, the company that owns and publishes British Birds, is run by a board of directors, all of whom are volunteers. The company employs two full time staff – Roger Riddington is the journal’s editor while Hazel Jenner manages subscriptions and administration – and three part-time design/editorial staff.
The company is wholly owned by The British Birds Charitable Trust (BBCT, registered charity no. 1089422). Neither the company directors nor the trustees are paid for their services, providing their time and enthusiasm because they passionately believe in the value of BB. The Company is managed with a view to making a small profit which can be donated to the Trust to help fund its charitable work.
Over the past six years, this, combined with donations from other sources, has enabled the Trust to give almost £70,000 support to a variety of conservation and educational projects ranging from rat eradication on seabird islands to the study of cuckoo migration, as well as assisting young birders develop their interest.
A full list of projects is given here. The Trust is seeking to expand its charitable endeavours and would welcome donations from like-minded organisations and individuals.