© 2014 by Barbara Copperthwaite.

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Hide & Seek


The elder Ring-Necked Parakeet pair were very vocal this morning doing their circuits over the park in full voice, then settling in tree tops momentarily, their brilliant plumage almost disappearing amongst the bright green fresh leaf growth. Clearly they are not yet nesting, despite mating. They have lived in the park since 2009 and have bred every year, though their young generally seem to be predated.

One success story for the pair is the lone female parakeet who has taken up residence in the pair’s former home. Not only has she survived and thrived, but I am beginning to suspect she might not now be alone. She has not been seen for a little while - long enough for me to think the worst, but for two days on the trot she has made a very brief appearance to get some fresh air before returning inside her hole.

So what is she been up to? I wonder if perhaps she is sitting on eggs. This is purely conjecture based on the fact that I saw a male parakeet fly from the tree she lives in, then stay nearby (it was feeding in another tree just yards from it). It is possible she has found a mate and has been too busy incubating to make an appearance. But I could be getting ahead of myself…

And once again I find myself playing hide and seek with the male Orange Tip butterflies, as I try to get a picture of them. Last year I did it too. They barely rest for a couple of seconds before moving on. By the time I’ve seen it, turned my camera on, focused…it’s gone.

Yesterday I sat in the sunshine for a long time watching a male fluttering single-mindedly up and down the stream, back and forth, always on the move, never resting. This pretty species of butterfly will visit gardens but particularly loves damp environments such as meadows and the banks of streams or rivers. The one I was watching was of course patrolling for a female, which tends to stay put around food sources waiting for males to seek them out. The female does not have the orange tips, and is easily confused with a Small White. For proper identification, look at the underwing, if possible; it has a fabulous and very distinct mottled green pattern on it that reminds me of moss growing on a branch. Both sexes boast this underwing pattern, which the Small White does not have.

Despite all my patience I did not see the male rest once. He moved ceaselessly, those wonderful wings teasing me as they passed me again and again. Eventually, I decided to move on, and got talking to a couple about the Parakeets. As I talked, I glanced down…and there was an Orange Tip, right in front of me on some Cuckoo Flower. What luck! I quickly shot a couple of photographs, not even bothering to focus properly – who knew how long I would have before it moved again. But as you can see, I did manage to get a photograph that, while not exactly prize-winning, isn’t too bad.

#ringneckedparakeet #parakeets #highburypark #orangetipbutterfly

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