Last week I got the urge to go do a bit of twitching, don't know why I bothered it pisses me off but I had an offshore survey cancelled (like they've all been this month!) and with the relocation of the Oriental Turtle Dove in Chippng Norton and access being sorted for the Tuesday but not looking likely for the rest of the week I decided to give it a go.
So Tuesday saw me picking Towel up and off we set, I think he must have been pretty excited about seeing this bird as when we got there I found this little accident on the car seat! He denies it saying it was water but........
When we got there the bird had shown but had flown off all sorts of rumours were flying around about a guy from the local paper/BBC/News of The World/British Birding Association (delete as appropriate) hiding in the hedge between 41 and the next door garden and flushing it. Who knows what the real story was but the result was it didn't show. At it's peak I reckon the queue must have been 600 strong so we didn't join it instead preffering to walk round the neighbouring streets, it was pretty cold and miserable though so by 4pm we'd had enough and cleared off. It was back the next morning, bastard thing I hope it gets eaten by a cat.
I am glad I went though because I overheard the funniest thing I've heard for ages. Lee Evans had just come up to me saying he thought I didn't twitch anymore and what had dragged me out for this bird when a couple of blokes came up who had been checking the nearby streets.
It went something like this........
"we've just been looking in the next road"
"Yeah there's some Collared Doves and Wood Pigs coming down to a birdtable"
"Really, Where's That"
"well you go left at the top of this road and then left and left again"
"OK great, what's it called"
"Webb Crescent...........oh you might not want to go down there!"
I messed about at home on Wed and Thurs when I should have dropped everything and set off for Rainham for the Slaty-backed Gull, I didn't though so the urge to go for it got too much for me so Friday I was off. I decided to go fro the Dove again on the way down as it seemed to be showing better in the mornings.
I arrived just as Mark Thomas stuck his head out of the door saying it's showing in the garden and we'll start letting people in. After about 20 minutes queuing I got in and had pretty poor views of it in a fruit tree for 5 minutes of so, it was a bit distant to get much on with bins and was partly obscured by branches.
I quickly left to let others in for it and went up the road to the garden where you could look down on the garden it feeds in and got pretty good scope views for about half an hour. It was always partly obscured but you could piece together all the features as it moved around.
Although I've seen them in China I was surprised how pale the tail tips were on the underside, especially the newly replaced partially grown ones.
So after scoring my first new bird of 2011 I set off for the Gull. Bastard thing I hope it gets botulism. There were a couple of claims during the day but it seems they were both single observer jobs and nobody I spoke to was believing them. I nearly went to Pitsea on the off chance but decided against it as I had no idea where the birds roosted at this site and knew the tip couldn't be viewed so I elected to set off north and beat the traffic. It was back the next day and unbelievably on the Sunday too. I might go back if it starts to settle into a pattern but I'm not holding my breath.