Blue-billed Ducks in ACT

To: <>
Subject: Blue-billed Ducks in ACT
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 14:32:57 +1100
That message from Chris is great (even if it took my prompting to get it)I (humbly) request indulgence of readers to say I avery "joyful" at this messageI am not surprised at the answer, although it is different from the quote from Chris that I copied in below. Presumably as a result of further investigation.........
To clarify. I did meet that guy and he said he was aware of the story involving someone else. He did not say the story was true. I did not ask him if it was true. He might not have known... He only confirmed to me that he was aware the rumour On face value it is not wrong for me to pass that on.  
However I wish to clarify one more thing that Chris raised. I can't talk for anyone else but don't see any kind of evidence that "as though CSIRO had something to do with the rumoured release" has been part of the story. never for a moment perceived a suggestion that the aspect of CSIRO was of any relevance, apart from that the person was known there and those close people were supposedly aware of the story. If my mentioning CSIRO confuses anyone about that I apologise, it is wrong. Indeed if I thought intentional involvement by CSIRO had been part of the story, that would have been a turning point for me to regard the whole story as ridiculous. 
My motive was simply to test the idea against the available evidence so as to (support it or hopefully) put dismiss it. My belief (as if anyone doubts this) being that it does not fit. 
And yes an article in CBN summarising the history and distribution of local records of this species IS still a good idea. But I did not agree that this story should be mentioned in the COG ABR. It does NOT belong as part of the COG ABR, because it is not relevant to the current year being described in the ABR. It is deserving of its own article. Either way, someone else can do it.......
This is not exactly the same as the private message I sent to Chris.
-----Original Message-----From: Chris Davey [ Sent: Sunday, 12 February 2012 11:50 PM      To: 'Philip Veerman';      Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Blue-billed Ducks in ACT



I believe the time has come to put this rumour to bed although I feel that I am wasting my time because like all urban legends once established it does not matter what the truth is there are some in the community who would like to believe what they have heard and continue to deny the truth.  Therefore, this is the first and final comment that I have to make on this issue.


Having worked with the person in question and subsequently spoken to him about this rumour I have his word and can assure you the story is false.

Because the rumour is untrue the name of the person is irrelevant.  Also irrelevant is the fact that he worked for CSIRO.  The CSIRO issue keeps on coming up as though CSIRO had something to do with the rumoured release.


Given that this issue is nothing more than an urban myth there will be no comments in the up-and-coming ABR.


The sooner contributors to the COG chat-line stops wasting valuable space about this issue the better.


Chris Davey (waterfowl, ABR contributor)


From: Philip Veerman [
Sent: Saturday, 11 February 2012 5:35 PM
Subject: [canberrabirds] Blue-billed Ducks in ACT


In late September to October last year a story was advocated on canberra-birds that the Blue-billed Ducks present at the Fyshwick Sewage Ponds are there because captive-bred birds had been released there. Debate followed. Chris Davey (11 October 2011) responded to the discussion and promised that "When the dates of release and numbers are confirmed I will ensure that this information is included in the appropriate section of the ABR". I recommend the story should be more properly told in more detail, preferably with its own article in CBN. I suggest that at the least a list or table should be collated of all the local records of the species and locations and years to support or otherwise the story. This can be done from Steve Wilson's book, all the COG ABR, the COG database and no doubt asking for records from the many people who have kept records over the years that do or don't include Blue-billed Ducks, from that site or others nearby. Anyone could do this. I even thought of doing this myself but then I thought clearly. If the idea is supported the records should be confined to that one location and numbers should show a consistency and be able to tie in to the suggested dates.


I can however add a bit to support the story (although I didn't doubt the story, only the belief that it related to the birds recently present). For what it is worth on the day of the Painted Snipe survey (12 November 2011) I was at Kelly's Swamp car park with Malcolm Fyfe and Sue Lashko when as we finished another group of people arrived that appeared to be bird watchers. I did not recognise any of these people but approached the man who appeared to be leading, as they were preparing to set off, to offer some tips as to what we had just seen and where. I think I recall that he knew of me (always a good start). Somehow (I think this is how it happened) he mentioned about his involvement with CSIRO as we talked about the Blue-billed Ducks. I asked if he knew of this story and he said yes and told me the name of the person who had, according to the story, been breeding these birds some years ago and had released them there. I won't reveal that name here but it is not a name I am familiar with. 


I have waited with this message as there isn't any urgency and Mark Clayton had told us he was away for some weeks at about that time and it would not be fair to make the suggestion without Mark being around. With Mark's recent comments about accuracy of data etc I thought it appropriate to put out a reminder (but hopefully not to restart the debate on the topic, which I suggest has had its run).



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