Saturday, 27 April 2013

No Escape!

There's really no escape from birds for me, and a visit this week to London - which was certainly in no way connected to birds/birding - had me with an hour to kill before catching a train back to Lancaster from Euston and time to spend in Hyde Park which I have since discovered has a quite impressive bird list to its name over the years. The morning was perfectly still and sunny, and knowing absolutely nothing about the birdlife in Hyde Park my big surprise was seeing a good double figure number of Ring-necked Parakeet (RNP) also known as the Rose-ringed Parakeet. OK, perhaps I shouldn't have been too surprised, but I know little about the RNP or where it can be found, more to the point I've never seen one, so this was a double for me.

Ring-necked Parakeet. Copy Permitted.

There has never been any conclusive evidence of breeding RNP in Lancashire/N.Merseyside, language like 'almost certainly' and 'it is likely' has been used in the past, in particular regarding a small population in Liverpool around 1970 until the mid 1980's when they died off, there has also never been any evidence of juveniles being seen at any time.

The RNP may have been in GB for over a 100 years but birds were not seen regularly until 1970 with breeding confirmed in 1971. Fifteen years later the population had spread to most counties in SE England and elsewhere. The numbers of individual RNP is difficult to assess, but there are at least several thousand, a roost in Surrey regularly holds up to 2,000 birds. The rapid increase and spread of the species is ascribed to breeding at a young age, longevity, and the lack of any competition.

Please have a listen to this....   

Kestrel Geoff Gradwell

Other birds casually noted in the heart of London included a Magpie carrying nesting material consisting of a twig the length of itself onto a ledge on a tower of the Parliament Buildings, a Sparrowhawk backward and forward off the top of Nelsons Column in Trafalgar Square, and a Kestrel above the concourse of Euston Station....a captive bird and pigeon deterant presumably!

Thanks for the brilliant Kestrel GG much appreciated.

I'D SOONER BE BIRDING!....Monday with luck.


Warren Baker said...

I get the odd passing RNP here Pete, less than annualy though. I did once have at my garden feeders :-)

Sharon Whitley said...

I'd heard about these birds down South Pete, a strange sight I would imagine for us Northerners! Love the kestrel photo!

Pete Woodruff said...

Warren....An excellent garden feeder record.

Sharon....A Parakeet in a tree in this country has to be a strange first time sight doesn't it, 2,000 in a roost in Surrey or not.

geoff gradwell said...

Hi Pete

Internet trouble so can't email you direct. Will do when operational.

You'll find the old parakeets locally on my blog, (see the list on the left), including juveniles in Lancashire, on the Fylde.