Tim Davey Something stirs in the woods
I know we have had some freakish weather of late. Days of intense heat, with some cracking thunderstorms and torrential rain served up as a dessert course.
At times the atmosphere was as sweatily humid as you get in the tropics. And it was on such a day that it happened. My close encounter with one of our feathered friends, that is.
Not just any old bird of a feather, though, but one who, according to the natural history master plan, should not be here.
I had been aware for a while that in the trees near where I live – and there are many, tall ones, as I live on the edge of a park – a different noise was making its presence felt from on high.
Normally, all throughout the summer, any bird song is drowned out by a massive colony of rook which have taken up occupation in some chestnut trees nearby. They fly in and out en masse each day and their return home to roost each evening is always accompanied by a cacophony of squawking and squabbling as they, presumably, push and jostle for the best perch for the night.
When they depart the scene I miss them. But even their not inconsiderable noise had been pierced by something else. A strange screechy sound unlike anything I had heard before.
Then, on one of those previously mentioned hot and humid days, I actually saw who the culprit was.
Swooping down through the trees was a really bright green flash of feather.
As it flew on a somewhat disjointed flight path it squawked shrilly.
I thought my eyes were deceiving me but, no. It was a parrot.
And, unlike the one in the very famous Monty Python sketch, it was very, very much alive and making its presence felt.
Apparently this intruder in the local aerial scene is a ring-necked parakeet and other folk where I live had spotted it, too.
Doing a bit of digging, I have since discovered that it has the status of being this island's only naturalised parrot.
But whether that's a good thing is still open to debate.
In London and the south-east of England there are vast colonies of them.
They are regarded as a threat to crops and fruit. Worse still, when they all join forces to roost they make an awful racket.
Given that the one I saw appeared to be flying solo, as it were, I would concur that its shrieking multiplied many-fold would drive you nuts.
So I'm keeping my fingers crossed the parakeet has not brought a mate with him.
They may be more dreary in appearance but give me those rooks any day.