My wife and I spent a most enjoyable day in Richmond Park with the view to seeing the Red and fallow Deer males strut their rut stuff...And we did.
But the Ring-necked Parakeets tried to steal the show, with one in particular showing how adaptable and dexterous they are to help them survive in this colder clime.
The story that Monkey Puzzle Trees get their name because the branches look like monkey's tails and it's a puzzle how many may be in the tree. Well the proliferation of Sweet Chestnuts generated a similar effect with the long leaves looking very similar to the Parakeet's slender shape as demonstrated above. A vibrant Emerald coloured bird that 'disappears' in the same way that Turquoise Kingfishers seem to.
It then stuck it's head out of cover and then flew down to the cluster of Chestnuts in the front to the picture.
It then flew to the side of the cluster, as opposed to the top, and then deftly bit off a leaf that was hindering its calorific progress.
Having removed the leaf that was in the way and sent it earthward it then attempted to extract a chestnut from a shell.
It soon realised that it wasn't going to get anywhere fast trying to reach in sideways and it soon moved to another shell for attempt number two. It's beak soon teased one out of the shell (which had split a little) and it started turning it in it's beak.
After a while it started to hold it with it's foot too to give it more purchase. Luckily it was so engrossed in it's feeding that it was quite biddable as I snapped away. A bird that isn't everyones favourite but this individual was quite enchanting.
It wasn't the only bird to taking advantage of the chestnut bounty because literally two trees further on this Jackdaw extracted one and then took it to the ground and pecked it to remove the skin. We also wondered if the Parakeets are found of acorns because we didn't see one in any Oak tree we remembered to look in, the Squirrels can't have had them all can they?