EAST KENT WILDLIFE GROUP
Combining birding, ringing, censusing, butterflies, dragonflies, mammals, reptiles, plants, fresh air, fun

DOUR VALLEY
We are carrying out a monthly census of the birds of Bushey Ruff, Russell Gardens and Kearsney Abbey and the dates can be found on the Birding page. All are welcome to join us for a mornings stroll counting the birds we see and hear. Our records will inform Dover District Council's plans for the parks. We will also concentrate on nest recording in the spring and summer.

NEST BOX SCHEME
We have 256 nest boxes up so far and sites for at least another 20. This is our chance to give something back to the birds that we enjoy watching. We hav, e Barn Owl, Little Owl, Kestrel, Stock Dove, Ring-necked Parakeet, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, TreecreeperGreat Tit and Blue Tit boxes. Most of these are now being made by a local carpenter using the best designs and materials we can find. All the records and outcomes are recorded and entered into the British Trust for Ornithology's Nest Record Scheme. In the spring we will arrange visits to check them. You can sponsor a nest box if you wish. Contact Pete Findley on [email protected]

QUEX PARK
We are recording birds, nests, conducting bio-blitzes and developing a ringing and educational programme at this exceptional site. Not only can you join us but you can also visit the amazing Powell-Cotton Museum and Gardens. Not forgetting the Quex Barn which has all things yummy. Early spring flowers at Quex.

RING-NECKED PARAKEETS
Quex Park is Parakeet City and we have set up three feeding stations where we can catch these not so cute and cuddly birds. We are working with the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at the University of Kent. Much of their work is genetically based and the ParrotNet project concerns invasive parrot species in northern Europe. We aim to collect information on population dynamics, age and sex ratios, condition of the Thanet population, subspecies composition, egg-laying dates, clutch sizes, hatching dates and rates, fledging rates and eventually juvenile and adult survival rates. If you would like to learn more about this enigmatic species feel free to join us but remember to keep your fingers out of the way...

East Kent Wildlife Group
Ring-necked Parakeets (RINPA) at Quex Park, Kent Part ONE
 
The Group has, so far, placed seven out of ten Nest Boxes for Ring-necked Parakeets at Quex Park.  We have another three to locate at sites to be determined.  Accompanying this note are images of the seven and, for the purposes of quick identification, they have been set as follows: one in the Garden area (G1), two in the Woods opposite the Paintball area (PBW1 and PBW2), one in the Woods by the horse paddock (W1), two in the outer part of the Woods near to the Crow Trap area (CT1 and CT2) and, finally, one more in the Woods en route to the Ringing area (W2).  As can be seen from the images, most, if not all, have had some ‘attention’ paid to them!  Two have been seen with Ring-necked Parakeets either in and/or leaving.
 
On Monday last, 2nd February, Pete Findley, Sarah Fawcett and the writer managed to catch two Ring-necked Parakeets in Mist Nets by the Garden feeders.  Biometrics on these two individuals are as follows:
 
Ring Number: EZ09713                                        Ring Number: EZ09717
Weight of Bird: 155g                                                Weight of Bird: 137g
Wing Length: 176mm                                              Wing Length: 177
Tail Length: 236mm                                                 Tail Length: not taken due no tail feathers
Beak (tip to skull): 24.6mm                                     Beak (tip to skull): 25.8mm
Number of Yellow Underwing Coverts: 0             Number of Yellow Underwing Coverts: 1
Primaries: Rounded                                                 Primaries: Very Rounded, more so than EZ09713
 
At the time of ringing, the writer had with him an extract from the BTO publication Ringing & Migration (2004), entitled Sexing and ageing Rose-ringed Parakeets Psittacula krameri in Britain.  This being one of several papers presented by Christopher J Butler and Andrew Gosler of the Edward Grey Institute for Field Ornithology, Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford.  This was perused, at the time, for guidance in selecting the above biometrics and now, by the writer, in an attempt to place the two ringed birds.
 
There are two subspecies of RINPA in Britain, namely; Psittacula krameri borealis and Psittacula krameri manillensis.  Earlier biometric work has been carried out by several studies led by Cramp in 1985, Forshaw in 1989 and Pithon in 1998, and their published findings, included in the aforementioned paper, as well as other information contained therein have been used here.  Adult Male birds have a rose-coloured ring and a black bib that develops by their third year, thus our two were not fully grown Males.  Ours, therefore, maybe young Males or Females.  The Wing Length of both individuals falls within the parameters of Male borealis data (the female of borealis and both male & female of the manillensis subspecies generally being shorter).  The Tail length of the individual measured again falls more within the range of a Male borealis bird than any of the other three options.  The Beak lengths are less conclusive, however, still remain within the range of the Male borealis.  Another biometric indicator is the Toe, however, for Pete’s health and safety, this was not taken. The Rounded Primaries might suggest that EZ09713 was born in 2014 whilst the more pronounced Rounding on EZ09717 might suggest a 2013 born individual, although this is inconclusive.
 
A further method contained in the paper was a significant binary logistic regression function that relies on the following: x = (0.486 times wing length in mm) + (2.143 times bill length in mm) – (2.448 times the number of yellow underwing coverts) – 131.958.  It is suggested that if this function returns a positive value of x then it is a Male and if negative then it is a Female (this function was, apparently, accurate in placing 96.6% of the sexes into their appropriate categories for the number of individuals studied).  The detail of our two individuals, therefore, is as follows:
 
Ring Number EZ09713
(0.486 x wing of 176)+(2.143 x bill of 24.6)–(2.448 x no. of yellow underwing coverts of 0)–131.958
Effectively (85.536 + 52.7178) or 138.2538 – 0 – 131.958 = 6.2958 – inferring Male
 
Ring Number EZ09717
(0.486 x wing of 177)+(2.143 x bill of 25.8)-(2.448 x no. of yellow underwing coverts of 1)-131.958
Effectively (86.022 + 55.2894) or 141.3114 – 2.448 – 131.958 = 6.9054 – inferring Male.
 
A further abstract, as published by British Birds in February 2001, entitled Determination of the origin of British feral Rose-ringed Parakeets by Josephine A. Pithon and Calvin Dytham, was reviewed.  In this, and the previous paper, it becomes very obvious that future captures should have their toes measured to assist in possible identification.  Nevertheless, herein the Wing data would appear to confirm subspecies borealis, where the Bill data could lean towards the manillensis subspecies.  Some discussion is had as to the likelihood of inter-breeding betwixt the two subspecies particularly around the colouration of the Bill where options lay between red-and-black upper and lower mandibles or red-and-black upper with an entirely black lower mandible.  If you look at the images of our two individuals, you might just get as confused as I was at this point!
 
Finally, a sample of the tail feathers that EZ09717 left in the mist net was taken by Pete Findley for submission to the University of Kent to go towards the start of our co-operation with them in looking at these animals.
 
John Pell
4th February 2015.
 

East Kent Wildlife Group
Ring-necked Parakeets (RINPA) at Quex Park, Kent. Part Two
 
The Group has now placed all ten of the Nest Boxes for Ring-necked Parakeets at Quex Park.  The two in the outer part of the Woods near to the Crow Trap area are to be re-named (to save any confusion with the setting of a number of Crow and Spring Traps), thus CT1 should now be referred to as E1 and CT2 as E2.  The final three Nest Boxes were located in the southern area of the woods and will, therefore, be designated S1, S2 and S3.
 
On Sunday last, 8thFebruary, Pete Findley, Sarah Fawcett and the writer, along with Jenny & Trevor Greaves, managed to catch two Ring-necked Parakeets in Mist Nets in the feeding area designated as Paint Ball Woods.  Biometrics on these two individuals are as follows:
 
Ring Number: EZ09718                                        Ring Number: EZ09719
Weight of Bird: 150g                                                Weight of Bird: 145g
Wing Length: 180mm                                              Wing Length: 174
Tail Length: 215mm                                                 Tail Length: 197mm
Beak (tip to skull): 30.1mm                                     Beak (tip to skull): 28.1mm
Toe length (not including Claw): 25mm               Toe length (not including Claw); 27mm
Number of Yellow Underwing Coverts: 0             Number of Yellow Underwing Coverts: 0
Primaries: Not review on this occasion                Primaries: Not reviewed on this occasion
 
The papers and publications previously mentioned in the report of 4th February were also referred to and used in processing the above two individuals. The significant binary logistic regression function was again used ie relying on the following: x = (0.486 times wing length in mm) + (2.143 times bill length in mm) – (2.448 times the number of yellow underwing coverts) – 131.958.  It is suggested that if this function returns a positive value of x then it is a Male and if negative then it is a Female (this function was, apparently, accurate in placing 96.6% of the sexes into their appropriate categories for the number of individuals studied).  The detail of our two individuals, therefore, is as follows:
 
Ring Number EZ09718
(0.486 x wing of 180)+(2.143 x bill of 30.1)–(2.448 x no. of yellow underwing coverts of 0)–131.958
Effectively (87.48 + 64.5043) or 151.9843 – 0 – 131.958 = 20.0263 – inferring Male
 
Ring Number EZ09719
(0.486 x wing of 174)+(2.143 x bill of 28.1)-(2.448 x no. of yellow underwing coverts of 0)-131.958
Effectively (84.564 + 60.2183) or 144.7823 – 0 – 131.958 = 12.8243 – inferring Male.
 
The Wing and, this time as well, the Beak data would appear to confirm subspecies borealis. Finally, a feather sample was taken from EZ09719 by Pete and placed in a zip-lock bag with its’ ID for submission to DICE UKC to go towards our co-operation with them in looking at these animals.
 
John Pell
10th February 2015.