Sunday, 8 May 2016

Rufous Turtle Dove in Kent - 7th May 2016

The trip to see the Kentish Plover in Manchester was unplanned, but our trip to Kent for the RUFOUS TURTLE DOVE had been thought about for quite sometime. Eventually it had been pinned down and was showing on a regular basis. However, once it showed it had a tendency to disappear for the whole of the day and not return until early evening. We hoped to be successful at the first time of asking. I picked CJW up at 03:30hrs; not bad going for someone who'd finished work at midnight. 

The journey down had the same difficulties as usual. We had to come off the M6 and divert through Penkridge, then with another section further down closed as well, CJW suggested we headed down the toll road instead. This saved about fifteen minutes off the journey and we arrived in Otford, Kent at 06:45hrs. We were told the Rufous Turtle Dove. had been seen already, and we'd only waited about five minutes for it to reappear in the tree. A tick for CJW and the gamble had paid off. A bitter sweet moment for me as well, after dipping the Rufous Turtle Dove on Orkney in 2002. We watched it for about half an hour and then it dropped out of sight. Birders were still arriving (why not do a bit of homework you novices), but there was no further sign of it again until 16:45hrs

First views were similar to those we had in Oxfordshire for the Oriental Turtle Dove

Rufous Turtle Dove in Kent - the closest I've had to a tick so far this year.
It's always nice to get the day off to a good start. We now had two choices. Either stay in Kent and visit a few sites or head up to Bedfordshire. It was an easy choice and we were soon heading up the M1 to Lidlington in Bedfordshire for the now very well known site for the LADY AMHERST'S PHEASANT. On my last visits to the site in 2012, it was a totally different story. The site was only known to a small few and you had to "be in position" under the cover of darkness. It was an amazing bit of fun though. 

We were soon up to date with what had happened on site already, and basically it had just been seen once and was possibly heading up the slope to the ride. That's where we positioned ourselves and waited. Then it started calling frequently and we were able to pin point the rough area where it was. With a bit of scanning and field craft, one sharped eyed experience birder managed to see the Lady A's and the majority of the crowd were able to get on to it; including CJW for his second tick. It was so good to see the Bedfordshire Lady Amherst's Pheasants again - so much better than the released and sustained Welsh birds at Halkyn which still had the price tag on from PheasantsRUs from where they were bought.

Next stop was a little further up the motorway. Cheshire actually where two Whiskered Terns had spent the day at Elton Hall Flash. It was quite a journey, and we were started to flag a little bit by this stage. But we arrived at 13:25hrs and we were the only birders who'd made it from Kent on site. (I'm guessing this bit but it's a safe bet). The terns did show quite nicely indeed.

Whiskered Tern Elton Hall Flash Cheshire