Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Gaudy Birds of Kew Gardens

There are a few special introduced species which can be seen during a visit to Kew Gardens. Category C of the British List encompasses all of those species which have been introduced to this country but which now maintain stable populations without recourse to further introductions. You see a lot of Category C birds most days whilst out birding: Common Pheasant, Red-legged Partridge and Little Owl for example. At Kew they are a bit more exotic: Golden Pheasant, Ring-necked Parakeet and Red-crested Pochard are all pretty easy to see and photograph. So I went to see them and photograph them. As they are all a bit arty and gaudy and really shouldn't be here I've translated that into the photographs. These pictures are all a bit arty and gaudy and shouldn't really be here!

Ring-necked Parakeet - being quiet for a moment - Kew Gardens

Ring-necked Parakeet - Kew Gardens
Breeding by released or escaped Ring-necked Parakeets was first confirmed in Kent in 1971 now there are around 8.600 breeding pairs or c30,000 individuals post-breeding. Originally from southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa it's coming to a garden near you...soon!
Female Red-crested Pochard

Male Red-crested Pochard
Red-crested Pochard breeds patchily in Europe and east into Central Asia and most of the birds seen in Britain have originated from escapes or releases of birds from waterfowl collections.. The first British breeding record was in Lincolnshire in 1937 but numbers have increased to such an extent that there is now a naturalised, self-breeding population.
Young male Golden Pheasant. About as gaudy as it is possible to be.

More than its fair share of colours!
Young male Golden Pheasant - painted!
Golden Pheasants are from China and were introduced into Britain from 1725 onwards (main introduction from 1850) and have been released as far south as the Isles of Scilly and as far north as the Isle of Gigha off the coast of Argyll. They seem to be disappearing from their stronghold in the Brecks and there are only a few reliable sites for this species in Britain.
All of these photos were taken at Kew Gardens and have been extensively mucked-about with in Photoshop!

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