How glorious to go out and about with the camera again. All Neha’s idea, and a superb one. Despite the gloomy weather, damp chill and dull light not only did we not get rained on, we also saw sights of tropical brilliance which cheered the eye, warmed the heart and generally brought a glow to the day.
There were peacocks! scritching, scratching around in the damp earth, bounding over fences and, best of all, utterly silent.
None of the adult males gave us a full-on tail display but even folded and trailing along the ground the colours, patterns, sheen, all are breathtaking.
This shyer male was preening under the shade of a large holly bush. It must be rather exhausting dragging that train around even if individually its components are, er, light as a feather.
Round a couple of corners, into a formal garden and there, hanging from a pair of bird feeders, were enough parakeets to be defined as a flock. We played a cautious game of “how close can we get before you fly away” but luckily they only went as far as the branches above if we disturbed their equanimity.
Neha’s description of the parakeets is so much better than anything I could say.
Now obviously they’re pretty birds. But they were utterly monopolising the feeders and large numbers of other species were left hanging around, hungry. Their days in the UK may be numbered since they threaten native species.
Ecologist Tony Drakeford said: “They are very pretty and exotic birds but are having a serious impact on our woodland tree-crevice nesters.
“There is no rightful place or ecological niche for these birds.”
“Something needs to be done with immediate effect but the options are complicated. In the past we have managed to control the rapid growth of other wild animals. With Canada geese we pricked the eggs to prevent offspring and with grey squirrels we dished out the birth-control pill. But these types of solution just won’t work for the parakeet. There will be a tremendous outcry if we cull them but it may be our only hope.”
The day’s pictures are here.