Summer Visitors

  laurie53 14:51 21 Jun 2009

I've just been watching two or three swallows hawking over the fields opposite. Nothing wrong with that of course, except that this time of the year of the year I would normally be seeing 20 or 30.

Similarly with swifts. Usually half a dozen or so screaming round the house; this year so unusual as to raise a comment when they do appear.

I knew that summer visitors were getting less, of course, but it brings it home to you when you can actually see, and quantify, the reduction.

  gardener 17:17 21 Jun 2009

Same with the Cuckoo, apparently the RSPB have listed it as endangered. Expect more on the list if we don't change soon. I've also noticed less bees in my garden and, up till now, no hoverflies or ladybirds. Consequently the greenfly are thriving.

  octal 17:57 21 Jun 2009

That's interesting, there's no shortage in bees in this part of London, both honey and bumble bees. We do have cuckoos over in Lea Valley park. Also Woodpeckers over out local park. Plus I think we've got the whole population of sparrows in out garden.

Just out of interest, does anyone live in West London and notice the colony of green parrots around the Hanwell area, they seemed to thrive quite well.

  gardener 18:26 21 Jun 2009

We had a ring necked parrot up here in Yorkshire earlier this year. Apparently they are extending their range northwards. Noisy birds, and appropriatetly named, I could have wringed it's neck!

  AL47 18:43 21 Jun 2009

the bee thing is getting serious isnt it?

  Forum Editor 18:45 21 Jun 2009

I am currently working with clients in Kew, and I see lots of parakeets.

There are now tens of thousands of parrots of several varieties living in Southern England, and parrots have been sighted as far north as Scotland. The mild winters are helping the spread of these birds, and in my part of London, on the Hertfordhsire border there's a thriving colony of South American monk parakeets, which is currently being assessed by Defra. It may be necessary to eradicate this particular species here, as it causes untold damage to crops in South America. You'll see them in Barcelona too, where they've become a serious pest.

The green parrots you refer to are ring-necked parakeets, and it's estimated that there are now around 30,000 of them living in the wild. Defra is also assessing them, but eradication isn't really on the menu with that large a population.

  Forum Editor 18:45 21 Jun 2009

Yes, very serious.

  laurie53 20:24 21 Jun 2009

On the subject of bees, I have a small beech hedge, about waist high and five metres long.

The last two days when I've gone out this hedge has been alive with bumble bees, around thirty or forty, in fact it's the noise they make that attracted my attention.

I've never heard of beech being particularly attractive to bees.

Anybody else come across this?

  Forum Editor 23:01 21 Jun 2009

Beech trees are wind-pollinated, so the bees weren't doing that. A possibility is that there is a nest somewhere in the base of the hedge - bumble bees absolutely love nesting in old mouse nests. A queen would have started the nest, and immediately commenced producing worker bees. It may have been these workers that you saw.

  laurie53 08:39 22 Jun 2009

I noticed last night that they were actually alighting on the leaves.

Perhaps some disease is making the bushes secrete some form of honeydew or similar, though they look healthy enough.

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