Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Oh Lord Above, Send Down A 'Dove'

With wings as sharp a razors
To cut the throats, of them there blokes
As sells bad beer to sailors!

Apologies for the late publication of today's post due to a 'full day'. Some may think I have run off with a woman, but most know I have run off with them all before! No, at the last minute Bowie and Sheila decided they would try for the Oriental Turtle Dove close to Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire and that was one trip I couldn't turn down. At the crack of 07-35 we set off under an overcast sky, and although it was once again cold there was little in the way of wind or chance of rain.

Just a few miles south of Newbury, I did suggest "we must be in

Red Kite country by now" and right on cue the first of a day total of c5 appeared just in front of us. Unable to stop there and then, just before Oxford a convenient lay-by seemed ideal for Bowie to take a break and a cup of tea

as this individual circled in the sky above us.

Continuing we stopped briefly at

Blenheim Palace just to view the

facade of what was the birth place of Sir Winston Churchill. We were told by the Gatekeeper that the baby Winston would have been born in the sanctuary of a hospital if he had not been 2 weeks premature.

On through the town centre of Chipping Norton we soon arrived at the street named The Leys where Great Britain's 3rd ever Oriental Turtle Dove had now been for a number of days. On its arrival the crowd had been 500 strong and the owner of the house where it was feeding was charging £5.00 a time to view it. There was never a chance of us joining such a throng, but today the 'crowd' barely reached double figures. Our greeting was "it was flushed, along with all the other Pigeons, just 5 minutes ago" words I doubt any other birder has ever heard!!!!

Sheila & Bowie looking a little disconsolate after an hour, when we decided to make a search of the estate. This met with a 'blank' but immediately we joined up with the others the youngest member of the group re-found it perched in Ivy on an Oak tree.

Despite never closing to less than 200 yards good views were afforded through telescopes, but did not make for any kind of decent photographs. This, a record shot, was the best of a couple of dozen.

Relying heavily once again on the archive, this shot was taken during my 2007 trip to Japan.

Now, the reader may just notice a slight change of demeanor of Bowie & Sheila compared to the first shot? From here we headed directly to Basingstoke and the tiny hamlet of Old Basing to see if our luck would hold out with the White-tailed Sea Eagle, but it didn't.

Instead we found this white Pheasant,

something none of us had seen before. A darkness fell we headed home arriving back in Weymouth at 20-00. 12 hours on the road had been well worth it to the tune of a GB 'Lifer' for us all.

The Great Britain Year List now stands at 183 (plus 2 not accepted so far by the British Ornithological Union - Northern harrier and Ross's Goose.

It's Spain for me 'manana' (see fluent already) so will keep you updated from there.
Asta la Vista

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