About me

My grandad first got me interested in nature. As a four-year old, I’d visit the local seashore to look for crabs. Although perhaps I shouldn’t admit to this, my interest in birds began with my egg collection in junior school. When I started secondary school in September 1977, I met Nigel Jarrett (WWT’s Head of Conservation Breeding) and the late Steve Carter, who suggested I start volunteering at WWT Washington which I did in June 1978. I volunteered mainly with the horticultural team, while Nige got to do all the nice exciting bird catching stuff. Spreading tons of fertiliser by hand over acres and acres of fields above Wader Lake and planting just about every willow tree on site seems a long, long time ago.

Between 1984 and 1987, I studied Biology at Durham University doing my BSc project on time budgets of Red-breasted Mergansers on the North Esk River in eastern Scotland. Much to the Grey College Master’s surprise, I ended up with first class Honours degree before moving on to Slimbridge on 28 September 1987 (my 22nd birthday!) to do my PhD. Registered at Bristol University, but based at Slimbridge, I studied “the ecology and behaviour of the Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis jamaicensis (Gmelin) in Great Britain”. I spent a glorious five years studying these cheeky little chappies and proving that they were very unlikely to have any impact on UK species, but in 1991 it became clear that hybridisation with Ruddy Ducks was to become the major threat to the globally Endangered White-headed Duck. After a 25 year research then eradication programme there are now hardly any Ruddy Ducks in the UK and I haven’t seen one for over a decade. I miss them, but know that their eradication was the right decision for conservation.

My work

I now head up WWT’s Conservation Action Department of around 20 staff, students and volunteers managing our conservation breeding programmes (cranes, spoon-billed sandpipers, Madagascar pochard and black-tailed godwits), our wildlife health team, and more recently our new human health and wellbeing programmes). Between 1994 and 1999, I was employed as WWT’s Head of Species Management and Conservation where I managed a team conducting conservation research on conflict species (Cormorants, Goosanders, Canada Geese, and Ruddy Ducks), Common Scoters, and threatened waterfowl. Between 1999 and 2004, I was Head of the WWT Threatened Species Department, including responsibility for WWT’s captive breeding programmes. Between 2004 and 2015 I was Head of the Species Conservation Department at WWT then between 2015 and 2016 I was Head of the Conservation Science Department and Conservation Systems with ca. 30 staff, students and volunteers. Since 1999 I have been Chair of the IUCN-SSC/Wetlands International Threatened Waterfowl Specialist Group. Between November 2007 and July 2011, I was a Member of the Wetlands International Supervisory Council, and was the Acting Chair of its Finance and Operations Committee from June to October 2008 and November 2010 to July 2011. I have served on the Technical Committee of the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement since December 2008. I have been a member of the British Ornithologists Union since 1987.

Skills

I have over 30 year’s professional experience in waterbird conservation. I have taken part in expeditions to study Harlequin Ducks in Iceland, White-headed Ducks in Turkey, White-winged Wood Ducks in Indonesia and Scaly-sided Mergansers in Far-east Russia. I am an experienced bird ringer with 29 years of experience. I have published over 170 scientific papers and reports, and over 100 popular articles, admittedly most of them many years ago or, more recently, just as a co-author. Since 1995, I have authored, co-authored or managed the production of eight single species action plans/status reports for threatened waterfowl (White-headed Duck (x2), Ferruginous Duck (x2), Brazilian Merganser, Lesser Flamingo, Scaly-sided Merganser and Ruddy Duck Eradication). I have also facilitated action planning meetings for Ferruginous Duck, Brazilian Merganser and Lesser Flamingo. Experienced in business, managerial and operational aspects of ecological consultancy work, Baz has managed, won or raised funds for contracts and projects worth > £4 million since 1992.

I have designed and / or managed numerous large research contracts, including work on Ruddy Ducks, the feeding behaviour of fish-eating birds, lead poisoning in waterfowl, avian influenza, satellite tracking of waterfowl in relation to windfarm developments, and EU LIFE-funded projects on the rehabilitation of the London Lakes and Red-breasted Geese. I have a sound knowledge of countryside policies, conventions and legislation relating to waterbirds and wetlands, and significant regional, national and international experience. I have significant experience of goose management policy, both nationally and internationally, an issue currently rising up the conservation agenda as European goose populations increase and therefore increasingly come into conflict with human activities.

Since 2009, I have been responsible for managing and fund-raising for WWT’s work on Spoon-billed Sandpiper (captive breeding at Slimbridge, headstarting in Russia, satellite tagging, surveys of new staging and breeding sites, autumn surveys and flagging in China). This has involved producing, submitting and securing several major funding applications (e.g. Darwin and SoS). I pride myself on providing prompt feedback to donors and maximising the benefits of projects to both WWT and donors, through maximising the communications opportunities for both parties, as exemplified during the Spoon-billed Sandpiper SoS project which was widely reported in national and international media, on the SoS website, and in various IUCN publications including the IUCN annual report.

Publications

Ash, N. & Hughes, B. 1998. The New Zealand Blue Duck Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos in captivity in the UK. Unpublished Report. WWT Slimbridge, UK. 20pp.

Banks, A.N., Sanderson, W.G., Hughes, B., Cranswick, P.A., Smith, L.E. Whitehead, S., Musgrove, A.J. Haveock, B., & Fairney, N.P. 2008. The Sea empress oil spill (Wales, UK): Effects on Common Scoter Melanitta nigra in Carmarthen Bay and status ten years later. Marine Pollution Bulletin 56: 895-902.

Barov, B., Nagy, S., Hughes, B., Cranswick, P.A., Crockford, N. & Gallo-Orsi, U. 2008. Revised Format for the AEWA International Single Species Action Plan. Birdlife International report to the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement. 29pp.

Bowler, J. & Hughes, B. 1997. Biological monitoring of lead shot replacement in the UK: pilot study. WWT Wetlands Advisory Service report to the Department of the Environment. 16pp.

Bowler, J., Still, L., Hughes, B. & Bevan, R. 1998. Feeding behaviour of fish-eating birds in Great Britain. WWT Wetlands Advisory Service report to the Department of the Environment. 133pp.

Callaghan, D.A., Kirby, J.S. & Hughes, B. 1997. The effects of recreational waterfowl hunting on biodiversity: implications for sustainability. Pp. 507 574 In: Freese, C.H. (ed.). Harvesting wild species: implications for biodiversity conservation. Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore and London.

Childress, R.B. & Hughes, B. 2001. A survey of the status of the West Indian Whistling-Duck (I) in St. Kitts-Nevis, January-February 2000. El Pitirre (Journal of the Society of Caribbean Ornithology) 14: 105-110.

Childress, B. & Hughes, B. 2007. Evidence of interchange between African Lesser Flamingo populations. Ostrich 78: 507-507.

Childress, B., Hughes, B., Harper, D., Van den Bossche, W., Berthold, P. & Querner, U. 2007. East African flyway and key site network of the Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor) documented through satellite tracking. Ostrich 78: 463-468.

Childress, B., Nagy, S. & Hughes, B. (Compilers). 2008. International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor). CMS Technical Series No. 18. & AEWA Technical Series No. 34. Bonn, Germany.

Crick, H.Q.P., Atkinson, P.W., Newson, S.E., Robinson, R.A., Snow, L., Balmer, D.E., Chamberlain, D.E., Clark, J.A., Clark, N.A., Cranswick, P.A., Cromie, R.L., Hughes, B., Grantham, M.J., Lee, R. & Musgrove, A.J. 2006. Avian Influenza Incursion Analysis (through wild birds), A report by the British Trust for Ornithology, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and Veterinary Laboratories Agency to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. BTO Research Report No. 448, British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, UK. 165pp.

Cromie, R.L., Brown, M.J., Hughes, B., Hoccom, D.G. & Williams, G. 2002. Prevalence of shot-in pellets in Mallard purchased from game dealers in England in winter 2001/2002. In: RSPB. 2002. Compliance with the Lead Shot Regulations (England) during winter 2001/02. RSPB, Sandy, UK.

Cromie, R.L., Lee, R. & Hughes, B. 2006. Avian influenza: a short review of the disease in wild birds, and of European wild bird surveillance during winter 2005/06. Wildfowl 56: 197-202.

Green, A.J., Hilton, G.M., Hughes, B., Fox, A.D. & Yarar. M. 1994. Ecología de la Malvasía en Burdur Gölü, Turquia. Oxyura 7: 167-170.

Green, A.J. & Hughes, B. 1996. Action plan for the White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala. Pp. 119-146 In: Heredia, B., L. Rose and M. Painter (Eds.). Globally threatened birds in Europe. Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg.

Green, A.J. & Hughes, B. 2001. White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala. Pp. 79-90. In: BWP Update: the journal of birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol. 3, No. 2 (D.B. Parkin, Ed.). Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Griffin, L., Rees, E. & Hughes, B. 2009. The migration of Whooper Swans in relation to offshore wind farms. Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Interim Report to COWRIE Ltd. Slimbridge, UK. 27 pp.

Griffin, L., Rees, E. & Hughes, B. 2010. The migration of Whooper Swans in relation to offshore wind farms. WWT Final Report to COWRIE Ltd., Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, Gloucester. 69 pp.

Griffin, L., Rees, E. & Hughes, B. 2010. Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus migration in relation to offshore wind farms. BOU Proceedings – Climate Change and Birds. www.bou.org.uk/bouproc-net/ccb/griffin-etal.pdf

Griffin, L., Rees, E. & Hughes, B. 2010. Migration routes of Whooper Swans and geese in relation to wind farm footprints: Interim report. WWT Report to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, Gloucester. 51 pp.

Griffin, L., Rees, E. & Hughes, B. 2011. Migration routes of Whooper Swans and geese in relation to wind farm footprints: Final report. WWT Report to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, Gloucester. 87pp.

Hall, C., Cranswick, P.A., Trinder, M.N. & Hughes, B. 2008. Monitoring of the UK Ruddy Duck population during ongoing control operations: survey results winter 2007/08. Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust report to the Central Science Laboratory. Slimbridge, UK. 25pp.

Hilton, G.M., Cleeves, T., Murray, T., Hughes, B. & Gibbs Williams, E. 2000. Wetland birds in Turks and Caicos Islands I: A search for West Indian whistling-ducks Dendrocygna arborea. Wildfowl 51: 117-126.

Hoffmann, M. ..., Hughes, B. ..., & Stuart, S.N. 2010. The impact of Conservation on the Status of the World’s Vertebrates. Science 330:1503-1509.

Hughes, B. 1990. The ecology and behaviour of the North American Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis in Great Britain and its interactions with native waterbirds: a progress report. Wildfowl 41: 133-138.

Hughes, B. 1992. The ecology and behaviour of the Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis jamaicensis (Gmelin) in Great Britain. PhD Thesis, University of Bristol. 212pp.

Hughes, B. 1996. The feasibility of control measures for North American Ruddy Ducks Oxyura jamaicensis in the United Kingdom. Department of the Environment, Bristol, UK. 153pp.

Hughes, B. 1997. [Review of] Ruddy Ducks and other stifftails (Johnsgard, P.A. & Carbonell, M., Eds). Ibis 139: 590.

Hughes, B. 1997. [Review of] The Wood Duck and the Mandarin: the northern wood ducks (Shurtleff, L.L. & Savage, C., Eds.). Ibis 139: 593-594.

Hughes, B. 1998. Ruddy Duck. Pp. 159-171 In: BWP Update: the journal of birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol. 2, No. 3 (M.A. Ogilvie, Ed.). Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Hughes, B. 2006. Flyway management for species of conservation concern. Workshop Introduction. In G.C. Boere, C.A. Galbraith & D. Stroud (eds.), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 600-601. The Stationery Office, Edinburgh, UK.

Hughes, B. Ruddy Duck. 2009. Pp. 678-681. In: The Wetlands Handbook, 1st Edition. (E. Maltby & T. Barker, Eds.). Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.

Hughes, B., Bevan, R.M., Bowler, J., Still, L., Carss, D.N., Marquiss, M., Hearn, R.D. & Bruce, J.H. 1999. Feeding behaviour of fish-eating birds in Great Britain. Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, London. 246pp.

Hughes, B. & Bocharnikov, V.N. 1992. Status of the Scaly-sided Merganser Mergus squamatus in the Far East of Russia. Wildfowl 43: 193-199.

Hughes, B., Bruce. J., Ekins, G.R. & Newson, S.E. 2000. Movements and distribution of inland breeding Cormorants in England. English Nature Report No. 360. EN, Peterborough. 95pp.

Hughes, B., Dugger, B.D., Cunha, H.J., Lamas, I.R., Goerck, J., Lins, L.V., Silveira, L.F., Andrade, R.D., Bruno, S.F., Rigueira, S.E. & Barros, Y.d.M. 2006. Action plan for the conservation of the Brazilian Merganser (Mergus octosetaceus). Threatened Species Series 3. IBAMA, Brasilia. 86pp.

Hughes, B., Goverd, K.A & Jarrett, N.S. 1990. Dazzling waterbirds from a boat on Chew Valley Lake, Avon: the technique and results from the first two year's catching effort. Chew Valley Ringing Station Report. 10: 60-74.

Hughes, B. & Grussu, M. 1994. The Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) in the United Kingdom: distribution, monitoring, current research and implications for European colonisation. Oxyura 7: 29-47.

Hughes, B. & Hunter, J.M. (Eds). 1994. The Scaly-sided Merganser Mergus squamatus in Russia and China. IWRB Threatened Waterfowl Research Group Special Publication No.1. WWT, Slimbridge, UK. 28pp.

Hughes, B., Kirby, J.S. & Rowcliffe, J.M. 1999. Waterbird conflicts in Britain and Ireland: Ruddy Ducks Oxyura jamaicensis, Canada Geese Branta canadensis, and Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo. Wildfowl 50: 77-99.

Hughes, B., Pickering, S., Callaghan, D.A. & Billingsley, C. 1995. Introduced waterfowl in the UK. Internal WWT Report, Slimbridge. 27pp.

Hughes, B., Robinson, J.A., Green, A.J., Li, Z.W.D. & Mundkur, T. (Compilers). 2006. International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala. CMS Technical Series No. 13 & AEWA Technical Series No.8. Bonn, Germany.

Hughes, B. & Sellers, R.M. 1998. Inventory of inland Cormorant roosts and breeding sites in Great Britain. WWT Wetlands Advisory Service report to the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. 25pp.

Hughes, B., Stewart, B., Brown, M.J., Hearn, R.D., Haycock, R. & Bullock, I. 1998. The effect of oiling and body condition on the diet of Common Scoters Melanitta nigra nigra in Carmarthen Bay following the Sea Empress oil spill. Pp. 247-267 In: The Sea Empress Oil Spill: proceedings of an international conference, Cardiff, 11-13 February 1998 (Edwards, R. & Sime, H., Eds.). Terence Dalton Publishers, Suffolk. 507pp.

Hughes, B., Underhill, M.C. & Delany, S.D. 1998. Ruddy Ducks breeding in the United Kingdom in 1994. British Birds 91: 336-353.

Jarrett, N.S. & Hughes, B. 1999. Towards a global strategy for the ex situ conservation of threatened waterfowl. Internal WWT Report, Slimbridge. 47pp.

Kershaw, M. & Hughes, B. 1997. Trends in the numbers of Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo, Goosanders Mergus merganser and Red-breasted Mergansers M. serrator wintering in the UK. WWT Wetlands Advisory Service report to the British Trust for Ornithology. 67pp.

Kershaw, M. & Hughes, B. 2002. The winter status and distribution of Ruddy Ducks Oxyura jamaicensis in the UK, 1966/67-1999/2000. WWT Wetlands Advisory Service report to the Central Science Laboratory. 31pp.

Kirby, J.S., Callaghan, D.A., Hughes, B. & Underhill, M.C. 1996. Piscivorous birds in Britain and Ireland: an overview of current knowledge of conflicts with fisheries. Pp. 1-6 In: Fish-eating birds: proceedings of a seminar to review status, interactions with fisheries and licensing issues (J.S. Holmes and P. Clement, Eds). Joint Nature Conservation Committee UK Nature Conservation Series No. 15. Peterborough.

Lee, R & Hughes, B. 2008. Review of waterbird re-establishments in the AEWA region. AEWA MOP document 4.11. WWT report to the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement. 105pp. Available from: http://www.unep-aewa.org/meetings/en/mop/mop4_docs/meeting_docs_pdf/mop4_11_re_establishment_review.pdf

Lee, R., Cranswick, P.A., Cromie, R.L., Hilton, G.M., Jarrett, N.S. & Hughes, B. 2012. AEWA Guidelines for the Translocation of Waterbirds for Conservation Purposes: Complementing the IUCN Guidelines. AEWA Conservation Guidelines No. 13, AEWA Technical Series No. 49. Bonn, Germany.

Mitchell, C., Hughes, B. & Cross, A.V. 2008. Goosander broods on the River Wye, 1990-2000 and a summary of Welsh ringing returns. Welsh Birds 5:268-275.

Newson, S. & Hughes, B. 1998. Diurnal activity and energy budgets of Goosander Mergus merganser on Chew Valley Lake, North Somerset: influence of time of day and sex. Wildfowl 49: 173-180.

Newson, SE, Hughes, B, Hearn, R. & Bregnballe, T. 2005. Breeding performance and timing of breeding of inland and coastal breeding Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in England and Wales. Bird Study 52:10-17.

Newson, SE, Hughes, B, Russell, IC, Ekins, GR, & Sellers, RM. 2004. Sub-specific differentiation and distribution of Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in Europe. Ardea 92: 3-9.

Robinson, J.A. & Hughes, B. (Compilers). 2006. International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca. CMS Technical Series No. 12 & AEWA Technical Series No. 7. Bonn, Germany.

Robinson, J., Mitchell, C., Hughes, B. & Cranswick, P. 1999. Anatidae productivity monitoring in the UK: a review of methodologies, and recommendations for an Integrated Population Monitoring Strategy. WWT report to JNCC. 36pp.

Sellers, R.M., Ekins, G.R., Hughes. B. & Kirby. J.S. 1997. Population development of inland breeding Cormorants in Great Britain. Suppl. Ric. Biol. Selvaggina XXVI: 11-21.

Sellers, R.M. & Hughes, B. 1996. Status and breeding success of Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in Wales in 1996: The effect of the Sea Empress oil spill. CCW Sea Empress Contract Report No. 231. CCW, Bangor. 21pp.

Sellers, R.M. & Hughes, B. 1997. Inventory of inland Cormorant roosts and breeding sites in Great Britain. WWT Wetlands Advisory Service report to the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. 51pp.

Stewart, B., Hughes, B., Bullock, I. & Haycock, R. 1997. Land-based monitoring of Common Scoters in Carmarthen Bay, February 1996 - April 1997. WWT Wetlands Advisory Service report to the Sea Empress Environmental Evaluation Committee. 22pp.

Underhill, M.C., Gittings, T., Callaghan, D.A., Hughes, B., Kirby, J.S & Delany, S. 1998. Pre-breeding status and distribution of the Common Scoter Melanitta nigra in Britain and Ireland in 1995. Bird Study 45: 146-156.

Underhill, M.C. & Hughes, B. 1996. The status of breeding Common Scoter Melanitta nigra nigra in Britain and Ireland in 1996: the effect of the Sea Empress oil spill. WWT Wetlands Advisory Service report to the Sea Empress Environmental Evaluation Committee. 17pp.

Underhill, M.C. & Hughes, B. 1997. London lakes rehabilitation project. Final Technical report. Phase 3: Waterbird monitoring and management. WWT Wetlands Advisory Service report to Wandsworth Borough Council. 132pp.

Wernham, C.V., Armitage, M., Holloway, S.J., Hughes, B, Hughes, R., Kershaw, M., Madden, J.R., Marchant, J.H., Peach, W.J. & Rehfisch, M.M. 1999. Population, distribution, movements and survival of fish eating birds in Great Britain. Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, London. 360pp.

Worden, J., Cranswick, P.A., Trinder, M.N. & Hughes, B. 2007. Monitoring of the UK Ruddy Duck population during ongoing control operations: survey results winter 2006/07. WWT Wetlands Advisory Service Report to Central Science Laboratory. 29pp.