Oriental (Rufous) Turtle Dove......sounds like a sixties soul singer !!
Well, with a weird 'free Sunday morning pass' from the Mrs - (I promise I will paint the en suite as soon as the 6 Nations is over :) and with no other (lifer) birds on. Rob and I decided (and as it's a year of 'lifers' for me) to give the Oriental (Rufous) Turtle Dove a go in Chipping Norton. On route from first light, I happily spotted a herd of 7 plus Roe Deer feeding in the lovely Oxfordshire countryside before we arrived in Chipping Norton. Plus we must have seen 30 plus Pheasants on route, some with the worst "green cross code" you could ever imagine.
As we drove down The Leys at 07:25! We couldn't see any other birders outside number 41 - a good sign?? (it had had 600 backing up the hill!)
As we parked around the corner near Jewsons and walked back up 'The Leys' following another couple of birders we still thought it was looking good (i.e quiet).
We waited outside, the four of us, in the light drizzle, after about 5 minutes, we were ushered in by the house owner, Steve. Expecting to be asked to take our shoes off, I was surprised to see another 20/25 pairs of boots/shoes already lined up along the hallway?
As we entered the small dinning room, Steve briefed us as to the set up, we paid our £5 (to a worthy cause) and we were finally ushered into the kitchen, a long Victorian extension with nearly 20 birders already positioned, ready for the appearance of the Siberian Dove.
As Rob and I were positioned at the back of the kitchen next to the 'aga' and near the constantly trickling fish tank it was going to be a long, hot wait... - I mentioned to rob I recognised a silver haired gent at the front on the left - Geoff Dawes from Leighton Buzzard! who was a good friend who helps with the North Bucks RSPB local group! - small world birding or what!!
Rob and I waited patiently on the heated tiled floor / next to the pumping heat of the aga and even from our 'behind the back of the head views' notched up 6 Brambling, 5+ Bullfinch and numerous other 'garden' birds enjoying Steve's offerings.
It was not until 08:55 that finally the front row birders started muttering/shuffling/mentioning that the Oriental Rufous Turtle Dove (mega vagrant 3 star) had appeared in an ash tree out of mine and Robs views. After a few minutes Steve rota'd the assembled birders so that everyone at the back could get to the front and see this pretty bird. Which Rob and I did. Even better the OTD dropped down onto the bird table and munched with the best of them! Giving views down to 7 metres, before having enough and flying off into next doors.
At which point we left Steve's, giving our humble thanks. Well to us it was 'amazing' that he had allowed (and still does allow) bird watchers into his house to witness this amazing 'mega' bird - would you?
Many thanks to Geoff Dawes for getting in touch and emailing me these shots taken on Sunday.