Saturday, 11 April 2015

Ring-necked Parakeets

I was staying in East London for a couple of days so got up early Friday morning and went out onto Dagenham Chase to listen to the dawn chorus. With the sun just breaking the horizon, with bird song all around, and with about 260 hectares of green space, it was easy to forget that I was in the middle of one of the most "developed" areas in the country. Even the odd pile of discarded drinks containers and fast food wrappers could not spoil the feel of the place. For once I was even out before the dog walkers.

Song Thrush in the early morning light

Dunnock - probably my most photographed bird

I don't really associate Jays with the dawn chorus but it was great to see these two feeding out in one of the open spaces, although they quickly fled back into the trees when they spotted me.


I saw over forty species of birds in the hour and a half after dawn. Most were the common species but Ring-necked Parakeets and an Egyptian Goose were firsts for me this year. The Egyptian Geese have now used the area for breeding for the last three years, although sadly, I was told that all nine of the chicks they produced this year have been predated.

Egyptian Goose

Then a screech, a flash of green and the Parakeets appeared. I know they are officially classed as a pest, I know there are flocks of hundreds around London, and I know they are a threat to some of our resident birds but I don't get to see them very often and I just like the colour, the movement and the noise that they add to the birding scene.

Ring-necked Parakeets

These are probably females as they do not show
the rose pink and black collars of the males

I was told that the Parakeets had recently arrived in the area in large numbers. Their dispersement around the country seems slow but relentless and they will soon cover the whole of the South of England.

At the other end of the day I managed a quick walk around Rainham Marshes RSPB. There wasn't much time to stop and search but we did manage to see a Spoonbill and a Garganey, my second for the week, and we had good views of a Cettie's that popped out on the reeds in front of us.


I made a quick search of the stone barges area but could not find any Water Pipits. I think they must have mostly moved north for the summer but I am still hopeful of catching up with one before the end of the month.

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