This edition of Wildfowl is of particular interest for the new information provided on two endangered species – Madagascar Teal Anas bernieri and Brown Teal Anas chlorotis – and on the Auckland Islands Merganser Mergus australis which became extinct in 1902. The two merganser papers are particularly evocative; scrupulous attention to detail in a review of written records, use of modern techniques (stable isotope analysis) which throws further light on the birds’ feeding habitat, and the author’s biological insight into these birds throughout, helps to illustrate the distribution and habits of a species no longer with us. It is also touching that the review paper is dedicated to Janet Kear. She was remarkable not only for her pioneering studies of wildfowl and her work with waterbird conservation, but she inspired a generation of researchers and aviculturists, and for many years served as an eminent Editor of this journal. The Auckland Islands Merganser was a special interest of hers, and it is therefore hugely appropriate that these papers appear in Wildfowl.
In addition to the work on endangered and extinct species, I am very pleased to see the publication of a detailed paper on the effects of a wind farm on Bewick’s Swans Cygnus columbianus bewickii wintering at Polder Wieringermeer in the Netherlands. Detailed post-construction studies of this kind are essential for assessing the effects of wind farm developments on waterbird populations. The journal also includes informative papers on, inter alia, the growth in numbers of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca in the Netherland, the latest population estimate for the Icelandic Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus population and potential competition between Mallard Anas platyrhynchos and Black Duck Anas rubripes in New Brunswick. The threatened species focus also extended to North America, with a study providing evidence for the predation of Snowy Plover Charadrius nivosus eggs by Common Ravens Corvus corax. Insight into a more familiar species is provided through an assessment of whether feral Greylag Goose Anser anser feeding distribution in Stuttgart, Germany, is influenced by their being flightless during moult.
During the course of the year, scanning the Wildfowl back catalogue was taken forward speedily and effectively by Christine Orchard, and most papers published in the journal over the years are now in electronic (pdf) format. These are not yet readily available as some of the files are quite large (> 7 MB), but plans are underway to use OCR (optical character recognition) software to reduce file size, make the papers searchable, and ultimately to add them to the Wildfowl pages of the WWT website.
I remain indebted to Tony Fox for his time, effort and invaluable comments as Associate Editor for Wildfowl, and to Editorial Board members – Jeff Black, Bruce Dugger, Andy Green, Matt Guillemain and David Roshier – for continuing to provide the advice and support essential for maintaining the standards and interest of the journal. I thank the referees for their valuable comments on the papers, and Ellen Matthews (EM Typesetting) and the staff at MPG Biddles (which recently acquired the Cambridge University Press printing presses) for taking the papers forward to publication. My colleagues Maggie Sage, Linda Dickenson and Jane Gawthorne provided helpful support throughout, including in the distribution of Wildfowl 62.