Posts Tagged ‘Turtle Dove’


By way of a change four A Teamers did an afternoon/evening/night trip in search of a few birds that we would have normally seen on our annual Norfolk trip. We are not going this year unless something “good” turns up. The weather forecast was not to promising as we departed Newhey at 3pm and headed along the M62 into Yorkshire. Our first stop was Sutton Bank visitor centre, we had hoped to see some Turtle Doves that usually come in to feed around the centre after it closes. After a discussion with the centre manager, who told us that he has not seen the doves since earlier in the week we decided to check the area out. Lots of Yellowhammer and a few Siskin were the highlights. We met a fellow birder by the main road that passes Sutton Bank, who informed us of a place to see Turtle Doves and told us that where we were stood will be a good spot to watch the Nightjars in the evening, thanks for the information!!

We reached the place that the birder had told us and we immediately saw a Turtle Dove sat on overhead wires, result! We searched around the area and counted up to six adult birds flying, calling etc. We all really enjoyed the birds as they perched up and “sang” to one another, at one stage we had four birds all perched together. We obviously kept at a safe distance from them, not wishing to upset their “courting” habits. A Yellow Wagtail and more Yellowhammers were also seen in this unusual location. Wood Pigeon, Stock & Collared Doves were also present. We managed to prise ourselves away from this spot and headed for the coast.

At Bempton Cliffs, Chris B hurriedly saw the seabirds that he wanted to get on his list for the year, then suddenly stopped and said, ” I had forgot what a stunning place this is to watch the birds”. With the reserve having been given a major facelift it is much easier to see the rows of Kittiwake, Razorbill, Guillemot, Gannet, Fulmar and of course the star of the show Puffins. With no wind and an eerie mist just hanging off shore it gave the place an unusual feeling about it.

Last call of the day was back to Sutton Bank for the promised Nightjars. We had originally planned to call at Wykeham Forrest to look at any birds of prey in the area, but, the low mist and negative reports by birders had us heading for Sutton Bank. We all looked for a chippy that was open, in any of the small towns etc that we passed through without success. As we climbed up towards our final stopping place light rain was falling and it was misty. We all did not give ourselves much chance of seeing / hearing the birds, but all said “Well they have to feed”. After a ten minute wait listening to Woodcock, a Nightjar began “churring”, excellent. Up to three birds flew around in front of us in pretty grim conditions. Wonder what its like on a warm, dry night? We left the birds at around 10-45pm and reached Rochdale by 12-15am. We must do that trip again,soon!

Dave O.

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After the re-finding of a Wood Warbler on a local patch on Saturday, I thought my luck was in, it was to prove far from the truth! A very rare bird had been found off the Welsh coast and we had assembled a team who might have been tempted, but the bird was not seen on Saturday, so we decided to head out east. Myself, Bob K with Steve K at the wheel met in Milnrow at 6am on a fairly nice morning. As we passed Leeds the weather turned very drizzly and did not change much all day. First stop was Strensall Common near York, a new place for us to visit, but after extensive searching and 2 hours walking the birds we had hoped to see were not located, perhaps it was too late in the season? The weather did not improve as we reached Wykeham Forest near Scarborough, as the whole of the usually beautiful valley viewpoint  was obscured by mist. A good search of the nursery area was made and not a sight or sound was heard of the quickly disappearing Turtle Doves. At the viewpoint the mist cleared a little then came back again, time to leave! We headed to Bempton Cliffs, knowing we would see a few birds there. It was the first highlight of the day watching the Gannets, Kittiwakes, Puffins and lots auks battling against the wind. There seemed a lot of Puffins present, but we were told the numbers are down.The visitor centre accommodated one of our number to visit its inner sanctum, after which we quickly left. Next stop was Blacktoft Sands, to hopefully connect with a pair of Montagu`s Harriers. On arrival we were told that it had been 40 minutes since they had been seen. After being entertained by 4 hunting Marsh Harriers for 20 minutes, the male & female Montagu`s Harriers got up for about 2 minutes, albeit a little distantly but quite spell blindingly, certainly the birds of the day. A quick look at a Bearded Tit and then no joy with the Yellow Wagtails ended, what was a fairly poor day in the field. The rare bird was re-found in Wales also, which really helped. Home for teatime and it was dry back in Lancashire.

Dave O.


We did our annual trip into Norfolk a little bit later than usual this year, but we still saw around 100 bird species. I left home at 10-30pm Friday and got home at 10-35pm Saturday night, a full 24 hours job, it was well worth it. My turn to drive and with nearly a full “A Team,” we left Newhey around 11-15pm. On the way a diversion on the A1 around Clumber Forest saw us see a couple of Barn Owl`s really close to the road, good start. We arrived at our first stop at Dersingham Bog around 2-10am and waited for Martin Q to join us from Rutland. The night was fairly still as we all descended into the bog at 2-30am and as we passed John Denver`s seat, a Nightjar and a Woodcock were heard. On the boardwalks another Nightjar was seen in our torchlight as we stumbled around, it was a male, what a splendid bird. More Woodcock along with a Grasshopper Warbler at the side of the path and then as the first vestiges of dawn appeared a singing Stonechat was heard, it had us stumped for a while did that bird! As we got back on the boardwalk a Nightjar was churring as it sat on top of a tree in full view of us all. We were all then listening to a Tawny Owl, when a Nightjar flew past us and we were treated to an amazing display by the bird as it hunted about 30yards from us for 5 minutes, great! The Golden Pheasant did not put in an appearance, though that is not unusual at the triangle. We headed off towards the Brecks and as we arrived the wind had gained in strength rendering a search for a special species quite useless. Next stop Lakenheath and at 5am as we arrived, around a dozen cars were already present. A male Little Bittern had been present for a while calling / singing trying to attract a female. After the long walk down the river, passing the wood that used to have the Golden Orioles in it, we reached the reed bed were the Little Bittern was still calling / singing. What an unusual sound, its likened to a distant barking dog. A Hobby passed over and a couple of Marsh Harriers were seen. Bearded Tit and Bittern were also seen. What a great reserve this place is. Back up towards the coast we headed for Kelling Heath, now after last year`s resounding success, surely we could not see all target species again, or could we? No, was the answer, it was sunny but very windy so no Woodlark or Turtle Dove anywhere. Now we all like to ask people if they have seen anything of interest and as luck had it, a couple told us where to look for some Dartford Warbler`s. We struggled, but we all managed to see these great little birds, eventually. A Spoonbill had been seen from the Iron Road at Salthouse, but it had gone when we got there and so had the car park that was buried under many ton`s of shingle as a result of the winter storms. We watched the sea and got a few passing terns and we would have all fallen asleep if had been allowed to! Along the East Bank at Cley some amazing plumaged Black Tailed Godwit`s were seen along with the regular breeding birds on Arnold`s Marsh. We called in at Chosely Drying Barn`s but still no Turtle Dove`s. At Titchwell we soon located 10 or so Red Crested Pochard, on a “new” lagoon to us all, but the Garganey that were present tested our skill`s. We saw what we thought was a moulting Garganey and this was later confirmed by photograph, well done Steve B. Then 2 Spoonbill flew over the lagoon, great birds to watch in flight! We said goodbye to Martin Q at Titchwell, it was nice to see him again and enjoy his birding skills. We headed towards home calling at Whisby nature reserve just west of Lincoln. It was a little late in the season for Nightingale but after about an hour one bird burst into song, got to be the nicest British songbird. We headed of home all very tired but a really good day was had with between 10 and 22 year ticks having been seen between us.
Dave O.


A family holiday spent at the Sahara Beach Hotel in Skanes, Monastir, Tunisia. It was our fifth visit to the area so I already knew where to go birding. Managed to do some birding every day, but mainly in the morning, usually around 6-15am as it became very warm around 9-30am. The area around this hotel is dominated by very large salt lagoons and lots of breeding birds, including Yellow legged Gull, Slender billed Gull, Little, Common and Gull billed Tern’s and good numbers of Collared Pratincole. Waders in the shape of Black winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed and Kentish Plover. Lots of Greater Flamingo directly behind the Monastir Airport, along with Spoonbill and Stone Curlew in small numbers. At the local dump near Sahline, up to 180 White Storks were present but the spectacle of uncountable numbers of Yellow legged Gull will stay with me for a long while! In the hotel area’s Hoopoe, Serin, Crested Lark, Bee-Eater, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Spanish Sparrow were seen in varying numbers. Around the salt lagoons various bushes and mixed habitat held up to 8 Great Grey Shrikes of the algeriencis form that allow close attention to photograph! Also in those area’ s are small numbers of Zitting Cisticola(Fan Tailed Warbler), Greenfinch, Linnet, Short Toed Lark and the abundant Rock/ Feral Dove. Smaller numbers of Collared, Laughing and Turtle Doves also.Large flocks of Spotless Starling are great to watch as they dig for food on the ground and squabble just like “our” one’s. There are lots of Swift and with a bit of luck a few Pallid Swift can be found as they chase their prey close to the ground. Small numbers of House and Sand Martins were seen, but not many Barn Swallow’s (think there is a sad decline this year in their numbers) On the journey from Enfidha Airport to our hotel a single Carrion Crow was seen flying around a small village, a bit unusual that? A single Barbary Partridge was seen one early morning in the scrub around the salt lagoons and in the evening a single Hobby was out hunting and then a flock of 5 Shelduck flew past. A few Kestrel’s and Sparrowhawk’s were seen again in small numbers. Our our return home and near the airport at Enfidha a Booted Eagle was seen hunting and great end to a very localised birding / family holiday.


Four intrepid souls risked another 24 hour birding trip,well it was only 23 hours really! An 11pm start after a gripping European Cup Final with Bob K at the helm. We had a little rain through Lincs and as we arrived at Dersingham Bog a little “sea fret” was in the air. Down into the bog we descended using two torches for company, ta Bob K, where a Grasshopper Warbler was “reeling” away, then a Nightjar was heard and as we got nearer to the sea a few mammals eyes were caught in our torches,quite an eerie feeling that was. A good number of Woodcock were around and a few more Nightjars & Grasshopper Warblers heard made up a good hours dark birding. Our next call was at Weeting Heath were the Stone Curlew were expected, but, only Rabbits & a Barn Owl were seen! At another spot a Stone Curlew was seen,but it took a bit of effort to find one. A dashing by Hobby was then seen as it chased its breakfast without much joy. Next stop our favourite reserve RSPB Lakenheath. Since the area was taken over by the RSPB the Golden Oriole population has fallen every year, probably too much disturbance by visitors. Having said that the reserve has come on greatly with Bittern,Crane,Hobby & Marsh Harriers enjoying a breeding boom! To see 2 Bitterns flying for a good 10 minutes then another flew past us and one carried on “booming” was a spectacle to behold, no Cranes or Orioles were seen though. Lots of warblers were singing in the reedbeds as we made our way back to the car and some refreshment, it was still only 9-30am! Back to the coastal area now and a new area to visit on Kelling Heath. We met a gentleman birdwatcher, who very kindly gave us a grand tour of his “patch” and what a thrill it was for us all, with Dartford Warbler, Turtle Dove & Woodlark all successfully located. His knowledge extended to the insects & plants of the area and the general history of the site, a real chance meeting for us all. A walk along the East Bank at Cley and seeing the damage caused to the area was very sad to see, only Little Tern was seen and an almost complete lack of any waders due to the high water levels. A tour of the North Norfolk “Hills” only revealed highish numbers of Marsh Harriers, they are doing well now that they have adapted to living amongst crop areas.A call at Choseley drying barns and then down to RSPB Titchwell were a Red Crested Pochard and 2 Little Gulls were seen, lots of birds and people were present (the day after a Slender Billed Gull would drop in) We had a needed cup of tea, then headed of to Whisby near Lincoln. We reached Whisby and it took us a while to locate a singing Nightingale but when we did it was a really good rendition from the bird! No sign of the Med Gulls at the site though, it was time to head for home as we were all becoming tired. About a 100 species were seen with us all getting between 12 – 20 year ticks. Its a hard trip but always very rewarding!

Dave O.


A trip out in the “quiet period” for birdwatcher’s just has to have a focus, ours was, to see a Turtle Dove!!. So when a possible Little Shearwater was seen at Flamborough Head on Saturday, we thought of a trip to the east coast and then Wykeham Forest. Myself driving along with Bob K and Chris B set of from a foggy Newhey at 6-00am and as we crossed the open plains of Yorkshire the weather did not improve much. It was only as we nearly got to Flamborough the the fog lifted. There was hardly any wind and it was a really nice morning on the head. We met Brett Richards, and he told us that there was nothing much to see due to the weather conditions. There were lots of Kittiwakes, Gannets, Puffins and other auks still moving about the place though. We sat around for a couple of hours and managed to see 2 Sooty Shearwaters and 2 Arctic Skuas, yes Brett was right! It was time to head for the Wykeham Forest, and on arrival the weather was perfect for raptor watching, sunny and next to no wind. We searched most of the nursery fields, that we know off, for Turtle Doves, but,we never found any (are we looking in the right place we asked each other?) Time to ring a friend and he said, yes, we were in the right place and a bit of time and patience might be needed. Up at the viewpoint 5 Common Buzzard’s were soon seen, followed by a pair of Sparrowhawks. Then it went a little bit slow, until, a rather large Goshawk flew almost over our heads and gave stunning views for a couple of minutes. A little later we picked up a distant raptor that was “wing-clapping” and as the bird got a little closer we identified it as a Honey Buzzard! It was later joined by 2 other Honey Buzzards, and they all remained in the air for an incredible 10 minutes. We decided to have a last bash at trying to see the, now mythical, Turtle Doves at the nursery. We tried down a different track and as I was driving slowly along, a Turtle Dove flew across the track about 20 yards away. To quick for me to get the other 2 lads on the bird. Don’t you feel very doubtful of yourself when that happens? After a search of the area, a sudden downpour put paid to further searching. Time to head for home, an excellent day out with most of us adding 5 new species to our year lists and seeing some cracking birds.

Dave O.