The Parakeets of St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

Dear Readers, it was a grey and gloomy day today – it felt as if everything was poised on the edge of the long slope down to winter. We’re just past the Equinox, and there was that sense of things pausing and gathering their strength after the hubbub of spring, and brief rest of summer. So it was an unexpected joy to see a group of parakeets conversing in a bare tree.

I think that what we have here is as a group of young males, probably recently fledged, who are finding their way around their territory – certainly I’ve seen nesting parakeets in Coldfall Wood which is next to the cemetery, and I suspect that they nest here too.

A fine view of that Rose Ring

I love how social and vocal these birds are, they always seem to be on the verge of over-excitement like toddlers at a birthday party. And how incongruous they look here in the cemetery, like clowns at a wake. 

And then they were off, flying as straight as darts for some unknown destination, chattering all the while.

And then there were just the crows keeping sentinel.

The Japanese Knotweed flowers look like pearl teardrops now, very delicate and pretty, unlike the plant itself which continues on its mission to take over the top part of the cemetery.

And this little chap was zipping about – it looked so much like a hornet that it almost convinced me for a minute, but it is in fact our old friend the Hornet Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria).

And while the red clover is still in flower…

…and the evening primrose is pumping out flowers, one after another…

The horse chestnut leaves really are on their last legs, with many already crisped up and dropped to the floor. I do wonder at what point the battle between the leaf-miners and the horse chestnut will start to affect the trees long-term – surely losing their leaves early every year can’t be good for the long-term health of the tree? What does give me hope is that there have been reports of blue tits picking out the caterpillars, and bush crickets also preying on the larvae and the adult moths, so fingers crossed that equilibrium is reached at some point.

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