Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Like the Scops Owl, you'll have to forgive me here. Anna and I were in Ealing last night, enjoying a lovely pub meal with my sister Pippa, who flies back to Chicago on saturday.
I didn't actually SEE this bird, but I heard it repetitively, and certainly know enough about the species to know EXACTLY what it was.

We were seated in the pub's alley beer garden in Haven Road, Ealing, under heavy canopy, but I kept on hearing this bird in the surrounding trees.
It was a Rose-Ringed Parakeet, (or Ring-Necked Parakeet), one of several thousand which have set up a large (problematic?) feral population in this region of the UK.

Rose-Ringed Pararkeets are gregarious small parrots, indigenous originally to parts of Africa and the Indian subcontinent. They are kept as pets all over the world, and its probable that escapees (not just in the UK), started these feral populations worldwide - happily living in parks and gardens etc... in great numbers.
When you hear one (or a thousand) you'll not mistake it, and likewise if you see one (or one of the huge flocks).

I remember my first ever siting of one when I was thirteen years old (1984) - just about when they started to set up a very large feral UK population. It was sitting at the top of the main block of my school - squawking noisily.
Since then two MAIN population centres exist - one around South London / Kew (especially) / Richmond / Twickenham / Surrey border, and one in Kent (margate area), though you'll see them all over the south-east of England - (Regents Park is becoming another hotspot).
The subspecies of this Parakeet which has set up home here is the INDIAN Rose-Ringed Parakeet. It is sexually dimorphic in that only the adult male has the obvious ring around his neck - the females and juveniles lack this.
The bird yesterday (as in the changed time and date of this post) was obviously part of the Kew / Twickenham giant flock - if you are in that area, you might well see thousands flocking like starlings in an incredibly noisy fashion.

These birds might well have to be culled in the future - as they (in those numbers) outcompete our native birds for food, not to mention really annoy the local human residents with their incessant noise and droppings...

I include a photo, although like I said, rather like the Scops Owl in Kephalonia, I didn't actually see it yesterday.

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