Some of these species might be considered exotic, invasive or naturalised. However, it is exciting to see all of them even if some people might consider them to be non-native. It is always a challenge to gain an understanding as to how an introduced species is impacting native species. With the impacts of climate change over the coming years we are likely to have more of these ‘non-natives’ on our shores. Some of these species may pose a problem, whilst others may harmonise with species that are already established. Read on and see if you have seen any of the species below.
Background: Ring-necked Parakeets have been present in the UK since the 1800s and can be seen regularly in parks around London. They are a vivid light green colour and have a distinctive call. Over the past couple of years, we have had sightings of individuals in Chelmsford and they are exciting to see because of their association with warmer climes. Ring-necked Parakeets mostly eat fruit, berries, nuts, and seeds but can also be carnivorous.
Where to spot? Admirals Park, Central Park, Chelmer Valley and Hylands Park.
Issues: Ring-necked Parakeets can cause problems for fruit growers and it is uncertain now how they might impact native bird species.
Background: Little Egrets are relative newcomers to the British Isles, expanding in number snice the early 1990’s. They are in the heron family, hence their similar appearance to the iconic Grey Heron but much smaller and white feathers. They are distributed around the coastline of the UK and seem so be harmonised with native species.
Where to spot? In Chelmsford Little Egrets have been frequently spotted on the River Chelmer, in Admirals Park and the River Wid in Hylands Park.
Background: American Mink were introduced to the UK in the 1960s through escapes from Mink farms. They are dark in colour, often appearing almost black with bushy tails. They are carnivorous and will catch fish, water voles and ground nesting birds. They are distributed throughout the country.
Where to spot? The River Chelmer and the River Can.
Issues: Mink can cause a great amount of problems for native wildlife through predation. Water voles can be predated severely in some areas. Also, Mink hunt fish otherwise taken by Otters and are more aggressive than their native cousins.