Oriental Turtle Dove - at the third time of asking!

There had been requests not to disturb the residents of Chipping Norton on Sunday, so being the considerate people we are, we went to Slimbridge instead, with a planned drive around some Cotswold villages in the afternoon.

After a fine breakfast, we headed out to the WWT HQ and enjoyed the birds out on the marshes. There were still Bewick's Swans around as well as several Barnacle Geese but only two Russian Whitefronts padded around as there mates had all decided to up and leave! There had been a large 'bore' (pity we missed it) and the outer marsh had been inundated, however a few birds returned as we scanned the area. Peregrine and Buzzard were the only two raptors and there were quite a few waders; Golden Plover, Dunlin, a couple of Ruff, etc. Then we got the news - John Wright texted us to say that the Dove was showing well in its roost tree. So we set off and an hour later, we dipped again - lots of Woodpigeons and a couple of Stock Doves but there had been no sign of the OTD (Oriental Turtle Dove, not "On-time Delivery") for 20 minutes.

We scanned for a while but decided that we'd come back on Monday on the way back home. So it was more touristy stuff and a lovely Italian meal that evening.

So Monday arrived and just as we'd finished breakfast and paid the bill at the B&B, John texted me again - "showing well". We got there about 10 and made our way down The Leys in the drizzle. People were coming away saying, just knock on the door at No 41. We knew the route! We found our way in and we were kindly given a scope view of the bird in a Damson tree, somewhat obscured by branches and the like. But it was here!

After a while, it got a bit restless and moved off right and out of view. We hung around but as more people arrived we moved out of the way just in case it returned. We were about to leave when it landed on the grass at the back of the garden and made its way slowly and surely up to the feeding area. Everyone got great views, even though the drizzle (& rain at times) continued and the hand-held shots didn't come out too bad considering they were taken through glass.
Oriental (Rufous) Turtle Dove, Chipping Norton Monday 21st Feb

A wintering Blackcap

We left with the bird still on view and more birders arriving. I must thank Steve and his family for letting us spend so much time with them over the past days. It got me thinking back to what I'd been discussing a few weeks back - "What would we do if a rare bird turned up in our garden?" Maybe we'll find out one day.


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