Well I've made it for the third day running.
Not a hugely exciting day today but one that, about about 3.45 pm had me standing, absolutely frozen, in the middle of a very muddy rugby pitch with my binoculars and camcorder.
"Why?" I hear you ask - "has she finally lost the plot?". Whilst I'm tempted to reply in the affirmative it was with good reason.
Living as I do near a rugby club that is host to the roost of some 3,000+ Ring-necked Parakeets, I have been monitoring them at the roost.
In October of this year it was reported that they had, as they did in October 2006, disappeared from the 40 or so poplar trees that provide their night-time accommodation. This was the case. Where do they go to? Why do they leave? So far no-one's come up with an explanation or been able to find where they go.
When they first arrive at the Club they land initially on various low trees surrounding the rugby pitch. Then, as if one of them shouted - Ready, Steady, Go - they fly in small flocks of about 20 into the poplars where they spend the night.
Once arrived in the poplars, they continue their incredibly loud noise for some considerable time. How long before the settle down, I don't know, as I've left before this. The noise is amazing!
I've been monitoring their return from early November. It started with a couple of hundred, then the numbers dropped to three, then steadily the numbers increased in the region of 400 -500. However, tonight, it was different.
The numbers had dwindled yet again. Only about 150 had finally flown into the poplars. I'd had noticed on a previous visit, that one of the trees had been felled and it appeared that it may have blown down in the recent very strong winds. However, there are now 6 of the trees that have been severely lopped to about a third of their original height and all the branches removed. An additional 2 have been felled.
It looks as though some of the trees may be shedding the odd branch or two, so is it for Health & Safety reasons that the Club have taken this course of action? Or, is it to deter the Parakeets?
I have today sent an e-mail to the Club to ask the reasons why. I await with interest for a reply.
What is interesting is that I'm still getting anything up to 15 in my garden as a daily occurrence; this suggests they are roosting not too far away.
Will they come back? Who knows? In 2006 they were definitely back in full numbers by the following February.
I shall continue to observe the roost with regular visits; I'm now fascinated by their behaviour and would like to know more.
11 hours ago