Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Green birds

So I mentioned a post to come about London's Kew Gardens and it's green cavity nesting birds and here it is. Firstly a little about RBG Kew for those of you unfamiliar with it. Kew is a large area of gardens and tree filled parkland in South West London with some serious history. There are records of gardens there going back to the1600s and once it took full shape Kew played a serious hand in the shaping of the British Empire (Rubber and Quinine for example being economically significant products available to the British pretty much solely as a result of Kew and its crafty horticulturalists and plantsmen). Of course this is significant to the modern visitor mainly in that a) it has a nice sense of history and timelessness to it, b)there are some big old cultivated exotic trees and c) being undeveloped throughout history its a nice little enclave that has retained much of its wildlife even as London has grown around it. Among that wildlife is the Green Woodpecker which seems to be bizarrely common there. We saw 4 on this trip and I only had my P&S digicam so its back to the realm of heavily cropped bad photos you thought we'd left behind:


I saw my life Green Woodpecker at Kew and it was doing what this one was doing - sitting on the floor probing the turf for food. So if yougo to Kew don't forget to check out its rolling lawns for wildlife as well as the trees and shrubs (also spottable in the grass andundergrowth are a number of exotic game birds including golden and silver pheasants and pea and guineafowl).


I was pleased to see so many woodpeckers because I've had some fears they may lose out to London's other green cavity nester; the slightlyridiculous in freezing England Ring-necked parakeet. We saw a phenomenal number of these in Kew and they must be breeding in tree holes somewhere so you do worry about what they are ousting.Unfortunately they were mostly flying about screaming and sitting inthe tops of Kew's historic tree collection rather than being helpful and coming to ground like the woodpeckers so here's an old one from LWC where they are more helpful:


As I tried in vain to photograph the Kew parakeets they did at leastdraw my eye to another Green Woodpecker. Horribly out of focus but atleast this one is in a tree (London Plane) where it belongs:



Mel said...

Is nice to know that you can still find places like that near a large city :)

Julia said...

I never saw any woodpeckers when I went in February. The parakeets, however, are even more common than pigeons out here. I have mixed feelings about them.

tai haku said...

"mixed feelings" was the exact phrase my dad and I used when we saw them. you know the rational response is to equate them to signal crayfish and grey squirrels but they're just so gosh-darned lovable.