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Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The Invaders – Parakeets

Rose-Ringed or Ring-Necked Parakeet (Psittacula krameri)

Whatever you want to call it, the population is expanding and it would seem these invaders are here to stay. There are all sorts of stories about how they came to be in the UK; from a few escapees, to the Elstree Film Studios 'extras' and other theories. I have seen them in London, around Thames Ditton in Surrey (I always liked Thames Ditton, has that village feel despite being so close to London etc... I used to work in a studio overlooking the River Thames opposite Hampton Court...'excellent'... I digress)... but now they are in Lancashire! In fact they are in Lytham. Imperial College, London are presently undertaking a four-year study on their distribution and impact (nice work if you can get it). I'm not sure but this must be close to their furthest northern distribution on the west, although I think an odd bird has been seen at Leighton Moss etc. 

I'm not sure how long they have been here in Lytham, I think since around 2005 or 6, but don't quote me on that. I was lucky to find them on one of those cold, fresh sunny autumn days and being late afternoon, the sun was dropping in the west providing decent light for a change. The Parakeets decided on a late evening snack and began feeding on the Holly berries. I was attempting to establish the sexes and juveniles and you might want to look carefully at the images and give this some thought. Certainly the tails are short on one or two... the males have the ringed neck, missing in the female and juveniles I understand. As in all these matters, I'm sure there are far more better informed individuals than I. 

To the day I added Fieldfare, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Goldfinch and on Fairhaven Lake there was a juvenile Shag, which I hope to post sometime soon.