Setting off from home at 0415, my intention this morning was to check on Turtle Doves near Ashill. The site in question is on a farm where the owners appear to have a real feel for managing their land for the benefit of wildlife as well as producing a range of crops for marketing. I do not know the landowners and I wonder if they are aware of the rarity which occurs on their land. Not only are crops grown, but cattle are raised within large paddocks which have boundaries comprising fantastic lines of old and very large Hawthorns and dense banks of bramble spreading from their bases. The view appears reminiscent of what is often seen in old pictures of how the English countryside used to look like.
Good numbers of Whitethroats (6+), a Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcaps, Chiffchaff, a calling Cuckoo, a hunting Barn Owl, and calling Little Owl were all present.
At the site in question, a pair of Collared Doves were seen with one bird flying to the ground to collect material for the nest. A pair of Stock Doves were seen along with a number of Wood Pigeons. After a short wait I then heard the distinctive and beautiful song of a Turtle Dove. I soon found this bird perched on the top most branch of a tall Ash from where it continues to sing with the inflated throat giving this slim-line bird a somewhat odd appearance. Display-flight was also seen.
Whenever I find Turtle Doves my sighting is brings a sigh of relief that they have made it back safely, however, I always think ahead of what problems they may encounter of their journeys back to Africa.