The Thanet Ring-necked Parakeets
The ring-necked parakeets population has been increasing steadily, though it remains concentrated in south-east England.
The ring-necked parakeet's native range is a broad belt of arid tropical countryside stretching from west Africa across lowland India south of the Himalayas, where it is a common bird.
Despite their tropical origin, parakeets are able to cope with the cold British winters, especially in suburban parks, large gardens, and orchards, where food supply is more reliable. They feed on a wide variety of fruit, berries, nuts, seeds, grain and household scraps. Parakeets are colourful and frequent visitors to bird tables and garden feeders, particularly during the winter months.
See my collection of recent parakeet pictures taken from my garden where the parakeets regularly fly over and land in fruit trees in surrounding garden. I love trying to capture these colourful birds in flight, although it isn't easy as they are so erratic flyers.
IMHO they are amazing birds!
During the summer months I’ll often see news reports painting gulls as monsters and attacking people which has made me write this blog post. I have studied gull behaviour for many years and think I kind of know them better than most.
Gulls are not the monsters they are made out to be, just misunderstood.
Gulls are highly intelligent birds and are opportunistic hunters for food which humans see as aggressive or an attack. Most of the fault and problem lies with human behaviour rather than gull behaviour when it comes to feeding them. Some people love the gulls so may feed them, but by doing so causes the gulls behaviour to change. The problem is not actually feeding the gulls, but the way in which humans feed them. People tend to feed gulls by chucking bread or offering food by hand, which is bad practice and causes chaos and gull bad behaviour. By feeding this way gulls soon learn that a human with food in their hand is a free meal and it causes them to swoop down and try to grab food out of a human carrying food.
I live in a gull breeding area where many gulls have chicks and I have never had food snatched or been attacked even when chicks are around or if we are eating a meal in the garden. I do not feed my gulls by hand, but rather feed them like I would any other bird - I put food in a bowl which acts like a bird feeder. My resident pair of gulls come down to feed out of the bowl in a very civilised manner just like a sparrow would. My gulls will sit patiently waiting for the bowl to be filled, just like my cats would do. it.
My resident pair of gulls, Lagertha and Ragnar eating out of their food bowl. Video clip taken on my phone at wide angle.
My resident pair have been visiting me since 2008 and even bring their chicks down each year with them. The chicks are very endearing and very curious. When I’m doing my birds in flight photography from my step ladders next to my office roof they’ll often come very close to look at what I’m doing and often settle down to have a sleep next to me. I guess they feel safe in my company.
Torvi, one of Lagerta's chicks being very curious. Clip taken on my phone at wide angle, so she was very close.
If treated correctly gulls can be very endearing birds and as they live quite a long life they can build a bond with a human, but this doesn't mean they think the same about all humans. My cats have a bond with me, but will run away from other people they don’t know, gulls are the same. I also do not get hundreds of gulls in to feed as my resident pair guard their territory, so there is never any chaos in my garden!
The gulls favourite food seems to be the suet pellet bird food, just like the rest of the birds.
Gulls are not daft, and if there is a choice between bread which is not good for them or suet pellets they eat the pellets, I have run experiments and found this to be the case. So if one is going to feed them, feed them sensibly.
Being a photographer my main objective is getting pictures and I have found over the years of trying to understand the gulls behaviour and different bird cries they make that it has helped me get my birds of prey pictures. Most of my buzzard pictures captured from my garden are thanks to my gulls warning me of their presence. I can be sitting in my office and hear a certain gull cry and know there are buzzards around. When there are birds of prey around, all the gulls in the area will join forces to create a wall to try and block the buzzards penetrating their territory. When the gulls chicks are young in spring and early summer the gulls will even attack the buzzards and team up with crows to drive them off. It is quite amazing to watch.
So for me gulls are just simply amazing birds and need a bit more respect than we give them. I often find it quite frustrating that some people can’t seem to live alongside any form of wildlife without wanting to get rid of it, it is humans' attitude that needs to change, not the wildlife!
If one live in Britain one needs to get used to gulls, we have a lot of them and as we are an island with the furthest place from the coast only being 70 miles away so one is going to get gulls everywhere.
Kestrel pictures taken in Thanet
A few Kestrel pictures taken in Thanet.
View more pictures here
Who knew Seagulls like apples
Who knew it, herring gulls like apples!
Ubba, one of Lagetha's chicks is really partial to apples. He'll demolish an apple in one sitting.
To say I look after my resident seagulls would be an understatement lol
Seagulls chasing Buzzards
The herring gulls are very impressive at guarding their territory with amazing bravery against such a fearsome predator. Unfortunately the gulls are a bit too efficient at driving the birds of prey out of their breeding ground, so I don't often get them close enough to the garden to get many pictures. Here are a few I managed to get the other day.
Black Headed Gulls
We done usually see these over the garden in the Herring Gill territory, but this year has been bit unusual to say the least, so not really surprised to see them flying overhead. Usually these energetic, bold and quarrelsome little birds fly very erratic and fast, so not so easy to photograph, but they seemed calmer flying in a big gathering of many different types of gull just all gliding in what look like a tornado of gulls.
Bird Photography - Sparrows
Bird Photography - Sparrows
Photographs taken this year during COVID-19 lock down in my garden.
I set up several perches within my garden with several feeding stations to attract the birds in. It look quite a while for the birds to get used to my presence as I didn't use a hide. After a few weeks the birds got used to me being around and lost their fear and started coming into the garden. The sparrows seemed to take the longest to get used to my presence, unlike the Dunnocks who where first into the garden to feed.
See more of my latest Sparrow pictures here
Pictures of the starlings since their arrival in Spring to date.
The pair that nested had a successful brood of 6 chicks, now all lively juveniles who visit the garden numerous times a day to feed.
Click here to view pictures.
Photos taken during COVID-19 Lockdown
With the COVID-19 Lockdown I decided to set myself a challenge of photographing from my garden rather than usually going out to do my usual photography.
See photographs here...