I'm advised by the Ponteland Historian that the local Ring necked Parakeet has returned to his garden in Prestwick having survived another harsh winter although where it goes over this period is a bit of a mystery.
Seen by the Liverbirder at the Police College early last month I caught up with it on the 21st when I noticed it being mobbed by Jackdaws over Sainsburys in Ponteland ending up in the top of a tree in Bell Villas opposite. This is close to a garden where I know it gets fed daily, normally grapes although recently sultanas have been added to the available fayre which it now prefers throwing the grapes on the ground. I suggested to the lady that she peel the grapes but this was felt to be a a luxury too far!
It certainly knows tha area and has returned to its Prestwick patch on the very week the Horse Chestnut tree has burst its buds. Like the Ponteland Historian I find this amazing. How did it know? Presumably it was doing covert visits to check or is it smell. I've often pondered over how waders know when Prestwick Carr is flooded. Dunlins don't exactly fly over daily the nearest suitable habitat being some five miles distant on the Tyne yet given a reasonable amount of flash water they turn up as do Redshank and Shelduck.
It's also a year since the White tailed Eagle visited the area fortunately arriving the day before April Fools day (although record suggest it was at Linton two days earlier) it headed south over Ponteland on the 1st April crossing the A1 at Leeming Bar on the 4th then east to Flamborough Head where it headed south visiting various reserves in East Yorks over the next four days and dining on Canada Goose at Whitton Sands. Then it headed back to North Yorks on the 8th heading west over Bolton Abbey on the 10th it crossed into Lancashire and briefly visited Leighton Moss before heading north being last seen on the 11th 'interacting' with a Golden Eagle over Haweswater. Shame I can't find out whether it ever returned to its release site in Fife.
Anyway, keep yer eyes peeled for the Parakeet as you go up the bank in Prestwick. The white rendered house near the road on the right and the one with feeders on the left at the top of the incline are the gardens in question but please respect the residents privacy. It's not an Oriental Collared Dove although there are many standard variety in Prestwick so it may be worthwhile checking.