Plenty of Woodpigeons, but where's that dove?

I got a call on Thursday afternoon out of the blue asking if I would do an interview with Ted Robbins on BBC Radio Lancashire's morning show the following day discussing bird-watching and twitching. The incident that prompted the discussion was the manic goings on in Chipping Norton where an Oriental Turtle Dove had been seen.

I know several people from the area went down on Tuesday for it only to be stood in the rain for seven long hours - I escaped this fate as I had to be in Blackburn that evening so declined the offer of a lift down. Anyway, having pontificated over the radio waves, Bernie and I (well it was I really) decided to spend a weekend in the Cotswolds. So a B&B was booked in Cheltenham for Saturday and Sunday nights and on Saturday morning we headed for Cheltenham - via the afore-mentioned Dove site.

As we arrived we quickly struck up a conversation - the bird had been rather mobile. It had been in the gardens but then moved to the larger trees on the outskirts of the town. It had been seen in them but had since flown off. We wandered the length of "The Leys", searching every tree through gaps in the houses. The natives were very accommodating, I must say, but the bird was nowhere to be found.

AS we made our way back up the road we had just reached No.41 when the owner, Steve, called us in "The first ten please, it's just come down to feed". Bernie and I were number 7 and 8; we unshod ourselves at the door and made our way to the kitchen whereupon arrival the conversation went something like "It's on the tab.. oh it's flown off left". Aaaarghhh
After an hour of delightful conversation and cracking views of all manner of finches (except Redpolls of course) and other garden birds. We called it a day and set off for Cheltenham via some touristy stuff in Stow-on-the-Wold - the dove wasn't seen at all for the rest of the day.

An evening at the theatre in Cheltenham was excellent - we went to see the last night of a new production of Alan Bennett's "The History Boys" and a nice meal to boot!


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