Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Dove from Above - Friday 18th of February

I had a typical day at University on the Thursday and text my mate Gary to see if he fancied going for the Oriental Turtle Dove and have another go for the Slaty-backed Gull. Gary said he was busy arranging a trip down and that there might be a space for me. So at around 9 that night Gary text to say there was a space if I wanted it. Not surprisingly I took his hand off and we set off for Staffordshire at around 3:00 on Friday morning. We reached Staffordshire 3 hours later at 6:00 and arrived at Gary's mates house Brian. After a morning brew we were off to a little village in the Oxfordshire countryside called Chipping Norton. We arrived fairly early probably about 7-8ish can't remember the exact time. We were greeted by two men who said something along the lines off "It was there but has flown off". About 30 seconds later a mate of mine who I met at the Rainton Meadows Arctic Redpolls came around the corner and stopped, "It's still there matey, on the guys lawn". We thanked him and made a hasty walk up the bank to number 41 Leys. Lee Evans was at the door managing the occasion, it was good to see someone taking control of the situation in some form. We had to que for about 10-15 minutes and then we eventually got in. A walk along the corridor and then through to the kitchen was our port of call, I was the first one of the lads to get in (not that I was keen or anything) and everyone was there being very quiet and respectful of the owners allowing us into their home for this special occasion. We leaned against the wall and looked onto a bush outside the patio windows, there sat in a tree was this:

(Oriental (Rufous) Turtle Dove - © Brian Evill)

(Oriental (Rufous) Turtle Dove - © Brian Evill)

What I love about those photos was the fact it was taken whilst I was actually watching the bird. A superb bird and I had about 1 minutes viewing time before leaving, I left fairly quickly like others so that people waiting got a chance to see it. I wouldn't want the bird to fly off incase some of the others missed it. On leaving I paid my money and shook the homeowners hand and thanked him very much for allowing me into his home. He asked me a question, something like this "Excuse me where are you from?". Obviously my accent was a bit of a give away that I wasn't from around the area. "County Durham", was my reply. To which he replied "F*c!(! H%l*", told his wife where I was from and then wished me a safe journey home. I think he was surprised to hear how far I had come to see the bird. We were in high spirits so off to London we go..............

We went through the center of London at around 10-12, the highlight was a Ring-necked Parakeet and whilst in the center of London we received a message that the Slaty-backed Gull had been seen. Excellent! We arrived and got told it was seen by 1 person, I chatted to a guy I met last time I was down and he kind of hinted that the guy was an 'ok birder, but we all make mistakes'. To which I smiled and lost pretty much all hope it was going to be here that day. Sure enough we didn't see it, Gary picked up a Iceland Gull sitting on Wennington Marsh and I managed some simply terrible photos and a short video. So I dipped the Slaty-backed Gull again. Its cost me about £40 now I think, I dipped it for the last time I think. Hope there will be others.

(Iceland Gull - Middle bird sitting down on the grass - Andrew Kinghorn)

Poor video of Iceland Gull:

Until next time, Foghorn out!


  1. Greetings from Southern California :-)

    I added myself to follow your blog. You're more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you so choose too.

    God bless you and have a great day.


  2. Hi Ron,

    Thanks for that, I hope you can enjoy the blog :)

    God bless,