There was a wildlife walk around Highbury Park on Saturday, led by Paul Anthony and run by Highbury Park Friends.
We got lucky with the Ring-Necked Parakeets. As we walked down the main path from the car park, we heard rather than saw one fly into a Horse Chestnut, and finally spotted an adult hiding in plain sight amongst the bright green foliage. It stayed there for quite sometime, giving a contact call every now and again.
On Henbury Pond a Moorhen was finally making use of the nest that was built then rapidly abandoned weeks ago, presumably after an abortive attempt to sit on eggs. It had added some extra leaves and branches, and seemed very content to be sitting there watching the world go by. (Sadly, by Monday the nest had once again been abandoned and lay empty. The eggs could have been predated by any number of things, from the Grey Heron to the Rat family that live on the pond bank).
As we moved along, up above us a Nuthatch flew into a tree and spent quite some time preening and posing, though with its back to us. We saw several Nuthatch on this walk, in fact. I must also mention that on Monday while out and about, I spotted a Treecreeper darting up a trunk, then flitting off to the next once it had reach the top (unlike Nuthatch, Treecreepers cannot go down trees, only up). Treecreepers are tiny, mouse-like birds, moving with the scurrying speed of the mammal, too. Add to that their fabulous camouflage, and they are exceptionally difficult to spot. But I digress.
After watching the Nuthatch for some time, we moved into more open ground. There was a flash of movement, and a Goldcrest could be seen flitting amongst the leaves. Admittedly the shaking leaves could be seen more than the tiny bird (which is Britain’s smallest bird, despite many people thinking it is the Wren) but we still got a decent sighting.
I turned away just in time to see movement low across the sky – a pair of adult parakeets flying into one of the scots pines. They were joined moments later by two juveniles, not long fledged by the look of things, and still very fluffy. As the photo shows, although their tail feathers are already long, they are not yet the full length of an adult. Note too the feathers on their backs, which are a dirtier green than the adult (more of a soft khaki than an apple green). And if you look closely, you can see that the ring on the male (there seems to be one young male and one young female) is not yet black but more of a peach surrounded by sky blue. They stayed for some time on their parents’ favourite branch, while the adults flew off, presumably to get some food.
The walk ended abruptly because Paul’s dog, Poppy, had taken ill. She sadly passed away that night, so this blog entry is dedicated to Paul and Poppy. She was a lovely, incredibly friendly Labrador who adored being stroked, and who had accompanied Paul on many a wildlife encounter. She'll be missed.