Last weekend Karen and I were invited down to Reigate in Surrey for a long weekend to attend our long time friends 30th wedding anniversary celebrations and of course my camera went down too just in case I got the chance to snap a few shots of the Ring Necked Parakeets that are down there.
We arrived on the friday and found out that a few different things were planned for us and other quests with the first being viewing an open air movie in the grounds of Hampton Court. As we settled in to our seat (that we had to bring ourselves!) as dusk fell we saw many a group of Ring Necks both coming from and heading to the same direction to their roost.
What a great sight and sound this was to see the flash of green belting through the trees in Henry VIII’s old stomping ground in varying numbers, I reckon a total of 400 odd birds were seen before darkness fell, no camera with me at this time so maybe I would get a pic or two at our friends house tomorrow? The birds pass over their garden to head to the well known Reigate roost every night at “about 7ish at the moment” I was told.
The Saturday was a great day based in our friends home and this time my camera was out in the garden ready to see what photo’s could be obtained of these birds. At the given time of 7ish the loud call of nearing Ring Necks filled the air and sure enough a group of about 10 belted over the garden, boy they fly fast and low!
I think that we saw in differing sized groups heading to the roost a total of 150 plus parakeets – brilliant!
I managed to get a few pics but with me being me not totally happy with them but with the light fading paired to the speed of the birds flight when passing over the garden got to be happy I guess.
Sunday morning was lovely and sunny and started with a call from my wife “get your camera quick” so off I dashed to get outside to be told “some parakeets are in the Sweet Chestnut tree in the neighbours garden” about 12 were happily feeding in the tree and I managed to get a few shots not easy with a green bird in a green leafed tree i can tell you 🙂 also I was shooting into the early morning sun so it made things darker and harder to get the exposure correct, sorry here I go again making excuses LOL!
The parakeets moved on after about 20 minutes feeding at the top of the Sweet Chestnut tree, I had earlier heard the call of a Great Spotted Woodpecker and was pleased to glimpse one landing at the top of a tall conifer on the opposite side of my friends garden (this time with the sun at my back) I was focusing on the bird just as it took off and got a couple of shots in flight and these turned out ok.
Mid morning we went to Headley Heath for a walk before a pub lunch, Headley Heath is a massive area (720 acres I think?) near Dorking and where our friends son is volunteering at the moment so we had a walk around some of the areas he has been learning about different habitat management to assist both the vegetation and wildlife. It was here that I caught sight of a pair of Stonechats.
Then I also got sight of my first ever Common Redstart who joined them for a few moments.
So I had a great time seeing some lovely friends with a little impromptu birding thrown in!