update on ring necked parakeet

In regard to the parakeet photo posted in May 2014, (see below:)


I have sought information to “nail” this as a definite ring-necked parakeet.

It turns out only the adult male ring-necked parakeet, has a ring on the neck. This must be a female (or a juvenile which likewise lacks the ring). However it was pointed out to me that this bird has a black bib which indicates an adult bird.

The only other candidate of species for this bird is the Alexandrine parakeet.

However it was pointed out to me as follows:

  1. The bill of the Alexandrine Parakeet is much larger.
  2. The Alexandrine Parakeet has a red shoulder patch.
  3. The Alexandrine Parakeet is a larger stockier bird.

Although the red shoulder patch might be hidden, the bill size clinches it as far as identification as a rose-ringed (ring-necked) parakeet is concerned.

Compare the photo below left which is confirmed rose-ringed parakeets (in the UK) with the photo under consideration:


One can see clearly the same or similar moderately sized  bill and general size/shape of that the birds in either photo.


Bird in photo I took: Rose-ringed parakeet in the wild (not a feral bird such as those found in the UK.



Grey Phalarope at Audenshaw Reservoir

This is a lifer for myself today Sunday 8th October 2017.

Latin name  Phalaropus fulicarius

Family  Sandpipers and allies (Scolopacidae)

Where to see them

Grey phalaropes spend a large proportion of their lives out at sea, many miles from land. Birds that turn up in the UK – largely around the coast but occasionally at wetlands inland – have been blown off-course by bad weather and strong winds.

When to see them:  Most often seen between October and January.

What they eat:  In winter, eats marine plankton picked from the sea’s surface. On breeding grounds, grey phalaropes eat small insects and aquatic creatures.

Phalaropes are a real oddity of the bird world, waders that spend up to 11 months of the year at sea and for which they are equipped with webbed feet and extra dense breast plumage to give them greater buoyancy.

I saw the bird in the reported spot: Reservoir no. 2 by the railway line side. The bird was swimming close-in with fine views afforded. Typically “pirouetting” phalarope style and picking off small items from the surface of the water.

g phal

Note the typically square-shape of the black patch behind the eye, and the pearl grey colour of the upper parts which this bird has at this time of the year. The bird in summer plumage looks much different and it is known in America as the “Red Phalarope”.

Paddyfield Pipit


Paddyfield Pipit in alert posture. Paddyfield Pipits typically look 1) short-tailed 2)show dark lores and 3) richly-coloured ear coverts which are obviously darker than the area surrounding them, creating the impression of a cheek patch. 4) The upper parts and crown are not distinctly streaked.5) The head seems proportionally rather large and wedge-shaped, with a flattish crown.

See above photo and information about the above species : showing the photo of a pipit on the May 2014 post is definitely a Paddyfield Pipit.


This is my photo (compare with above)


Drake Garganey at Elton

At about 130pm, I went down to Elton approaching it from the Bury Road, Radcliffe side of the reservoir.

Along the canal towpath about 200 meters, were a couple of flooded fields, either side of the canal.

The bird showed very well, extremely close up: This is the bird below


Lowercroft Reservoir

approx 21st March 2017

Reports indicated the Mediterranean Gull had  been frequenting an area nearby the middle reservoir.

So along to this place I went. It was beginning to go dark

Not a gull was in sight – not even a black-headed

A consolation sighting -something  I hadnt previously seen – a smallish bird of prey in mid air over the upper reservoir trying to catch a bat.

The bat got away, and the bird dropped down out of sight

Soon, however, it flew up so I saw it fly off and land on a fence post. As it flew to the fence post I could see it was a bulkier bird than a kestrel. Also, the back was a plain bluish-grey

I was pleased to be able to get it in view with my binoculars as it was on the post.

Though the light was fading, one could see it was a sparrowhawk, with red horizontal barring along with the aforementioned blue-grey back; a male just like the one in the photograph below.



Bittern seen at Doffcocker 620pm

I have long wanted to see a bittern in the wild.This species has always eluded me until now. Several visits to Leighton Moss over the years to see such birds as the bearded tit and the bittern failed.

Reports had been  made of a bittern at Doffcocker Lodge in my local town of Bolton. It was, apparently overwintering here.  In fact it was reported to have been seen several times over the last few days.

In fact, I had made brief visits myself over the last couple of days, but once again, the bittern had been frustratingly elusive for me. 

Today however, frustration was about to turn into satisfaction.

Today, I would make a third attempt to see the bird at Doffcocker. It was reported to be regularly showing well around dusk, at the northern  end of the small water body, and as the light failed it would habitually, clamber onto the reeds prior to roost, and show itself well. 

The bird had reportedly been showing for the last few nights at dusk so a handful of birders were there on he causeway in readiness and eager expectation, looking towards the reeds at the northern end of the small water body.

No one had seen the bird. It wasn’t showing  I wondered whether this was going to be another disappointment.

However this was not to be the case tonight.  Soon one of the birders  spotted it low down at it’s usual spot.I got the chance to see it through a  ‘scope.Hurrah

 To be honest, though, even though one could just about make out the bird, and consider it to be a “tick”, with the views of the bird bird being largely obscured by the reeds, one felt it was a little unsatisfactory at that point. 

Someone said not to worry and confidently assured me that it would soon show itself more clearly. They said that just before it roosts for the night it will perch on the reeds and we will see it well.

Not long after this  (about 620pm) his words proved true. The light was fading fast. Large numbers of jackdaws were flying in to roost in some trees nearby.  Someone heard a water rail calling, and a wren hopped along the bushes right by us. 

 At this point, as if right on schedule, the bittern started  clambering about up some reeds, as it reportedly had done at this hour on previous evenings. 

Thanks to a kind birder among the eight or so  present, who let me look at it through his telescope, I had the opportunity  to get a nice clear  view of it as it moved about.

Soon I left: not before another birder arrived, and he was also put onto it. He later reported that he saw it fly over to the reeds at the southern part of the pond. By that time though,  I had departed for the day.  

Maybe one day I will also see a bearded tit.

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