Saturday, 26 February 2011

26-2-11, Chipping Norton.

An Oriental (Rufous) Turtle Dove had turned up in the Cotswolds town of Chipping Norton - I am sure Jeremy Clarkson is a resident there. The first few days of the twitch, by all accounts, was pretty mad with long cues and fights breaking out etc. A week on I decided to go for it. I decided to get down there early, park up and get whatever view of the bird, be it a distant one in the trees or from inside the chaps house, feeding on the patio. I set off at 04.50, got petrol in Lichfield and then headed off to Chipping Norton. A very good drive down and at 06.20 I was there. I drove up and down The Leys and there was no sign of any birder. Was I the first today? Was it viewed being devoured by a Sparrowhawk yesterday? I parked by Travis Perkins, got out my laptop, attached the dongle and checked. No it had not been taken by a Sparrowhawk. I put my waterproof trousers and coats on, expecting the long wait in the rain which was forecast, a set off for 41 The Leys. When i arrived some five minutes later there was 6 other birders which had magically appeared from nowhere. As the queue's lengthened, the house owner appeared, gave some instructions and let us in his house at about 07.00. we were all bundled into his very warm house including under floor heating, birding in comfort. He already had a few birds in the garden and as he told the waiting people where it turns up, what time etc someone found it in a distant tree in the left hand garden. I was on the right hand side of the kitchen but managed to contort myself to get views of a cracking ORIENTAL TURTLE DOVE. Come on. I kept getting half decent views but with where it was and the dull morning there was going to be no chance of photos. There was lots of people queing through the chaps house and with lots of clothes on and the heating on I decided to make my exit, giving others a chance to see it. Other birds noted were Song Thrush, Robin, Carrion Crow, Dunnock, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Bullfinch, House Sparrow and Woodpigeon. From here I had a couple of sites to visit but as I got to my car the heavens opened so I decided to head home.

Whitemoor Haye.

Eventually the rain stopped and I decided to get out and do my patch. The last few weeks I have been busy putting all of my records onto Bird Journal, the excellent bird database (and other flora and fauna). I eventually put in all of my records since I started birding in 1999, 1700 of them. Sounds a lot but it will be nothing compared to many other birders. It has been a time consuming exercise but good fun with many memories coming back. Back to today and birds noted on thie very windy afternoon were Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Tree Sparrow, Robin, Buzzard, Kestrel, Skylark, Blackbird, Wren, Dunnock, Little Owl in his/her usual tree, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Lapwing 12 in the field near Sittles Farm and another 209 by the quarry pool, 97 Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, 2 Grey Partridge, Starling and loads of Magpies. At the quarry pool I added 4 Goldeneye, 15 Tufted Duck, 89 Wigeon, 41 Pochard, 2 Oystercatchers, 10 Mallard, Blue Tit and a load of Canada Geese. Afternoon off now for 6 nations rugby. See you tomorrow.

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