Your exotic sightings
We had a great response from you on the blog when Martin asked you to tell us about exotic species in the UK. The topic prompted a lot of discussion on our messageboard and in our Flickr group too so we wanted to share some of best sightings with you.
You certainly can't blame our winged friends for paying no attention to international boundaries. We've had lots of reports from you of them doing just that.
Brandon Anderson, Lynne Dymond, dancingbeard and Harpert4 report thriving groups of ring necked parakeets in both north and south London. But it seems they've been spreading their wings even further: tomrichards88 spotted this one in Singleton Park, Swansea.
Several of you, including Julie Doyle and Charlotte Mijatovic have noticed pheasants sporting darker colours than our native chestnut and golden brown variety. Although common pheasants can sometimes appear greener due to changes in their pigment, these dark green sightings could be Japanese green pheasants, reportedly introduced by gamekeepers because they're hardier than our native variety.
Over on the messageboard there was much talk about hoopoe. These exotic patterned birds don't breed in the UK but can be found along English coasts in spring as they overshoot their migration to Europe from Africa. Mike Rawlings was amongst our Flickr group members who managed to photograph one of these visitors.
As well as established populations, introduced species and stray visitors we have more than a few exotic escapees according to your reports. Norfolk plays host to a loose flamingo according to tootsietim and levingtonash tells us there's a flock of macaws who prefer a local woods to their aviary.
Meanwhile down in Devon, Matt Mcveigh was lucky enough to have this colourful visitor to his garden.
Purple glossy starling © Matt Mcveigh
We have to agree with MPG's identification that it's a purple glossy starling, normally found in tropical Africa. Has it escaped from a private collection?
If you have an exotic pet and find you can't look after it, please don't dump it in an unfamiliar environment. The RSPCA has advice for anyone struggling to care for their pets. It's certainly cruel to abandon those that can't cope with our climate and those that do survive can cause havoc like the red-eared terrapin. Mike Foster, John, spikeharby, Moss Penguin, Jools and Stephen 1980 have all noticed these invasive
amphibians reptiles that predate our native pondlife and in the Flickr group Edward Nurcombe took this photo in St Neots, Cambridgeshire.
After Gordon's film about the wallabies on the Isle of Man, lots of you have reported wallabies across the country. auchingee has seen them on Island Inch Conachan, Loch Lomond, greenottingham told us about their presence in Froggatt Edge, Derbyshire, david darling reports evidence of them in Andover, hants, Ray Dorian shared his sightings in Leonardslee Gardens, Sussex and jeandavisroy has seen one from the M4 headed toward Bristol. Is there anywhere without wallabies?!
A real eyebrow-raiser is Sara Sid's sighting of a coatimundi in Berkshire, a raccoon-like mammal that's an awfully long way from its normal home in South America. Could this be a case of mistaken identity, perhaps an unusually marked fox? Whatever the explanation, Britain's wildlife is clearly incredibly diverse and more discoveries are waiting to be made. If you do see any, we'd love to hear about it right here.