Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Turtle Dove

The Sussex Wildlife Trust Headquarters at Woods Mill is always a good place to look for Turtle Doves. They tend to favour  a couple of trees on the footpath down the west side of the site and often sit out in the open.

My first circuit of the site did not look very promising. There was very little moving and not much bird song. I sat for a while and enjoyed the view out over the lake and had just decided to move on to Pulborough Brooks when I heard a familiar purring coming from the other side of the lake.

The Turtle Dove was easy enough to find but it was deep in a tree and it was very difficult to find an angle for a clear shot.

Turtle Dove playing hard to get.

It called on and off for about half an hour and then flew away. It was probably about an hour before it returned. This time it found a more open perch but was left silhouetted against the sky so was still not easy to photograph. It also seemed determined to keep its back towards me for most of the time I was watching.

At last a front view but he doesn't look very happy

It's a pity he didn't want to pose for me but I'm just happy that he made it through the Mediterranean and ended up somewhere where I could see him. Lets hope he finds a mate and that the species starts to make a recovery.

There was not much else around, a few Whitethroats, a Sedge Warblers singing from deep in the reeds and a couple of Wrens singing their hearts out.


I had left the Macro lens at home so when a Dragonfly flew past me I did not at first think about taking a picture. However, on the second pass I noted more detail and could not immediately put a name to it. You can take Dragonfly pictures with a big lens but you have to stand a long way off. Vegetation tends to get in the way and its usually best to use manual focus unless they are really perched out in the open.

It took me a long time but I eventually got a few decent pictures. It looks like an immature Scarce Chaser.

The species is called a Scarce Chaser and it is scarce throughout its range in southern and eastern England. However, where it does occur it is usually abundant and West Sussex seems to be a good location for it.

An interesting days birding and it was good to see a Turtle Dove. Is it my imagination or have they become more common over the past couple of years?

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