The dove from above

Eurekakakaka! Migrants, even if a couple are everso slightly plastic.

Working on the chicken and rabbit-proofing of the new yard on Saturday evening, my uber-finely tuned dove senses started jangling – in the gloom a slim silhouette on the telegraph wires looked good for a dove of some sort or other, but by the time I’d legged it back into the house for my bins, it’d vanished without trace.

Fortunately yesterday morning the mystery resolved itself as the irresistible magnetism of my hens (or more specifically, their corn) lured it and a friend back to feed in my chicken yard – a pair of Collared Doves. Migrants of a kind, and rewind 50 years or so and they would have been a mega. How times change – I look forward to the day I look out into my sheep fields and mutter to myself “oh god, not another bloody Cattle Egret….”

 So I finally got to use the camera and lens in anger, and it’s just splendid. Roll on something properly rare!


Other migrants around the house over the course of the weekend included a fly-by Swallow yesterday evening, and at long last a Wheatear (the latter found by the tried and tested technique of me sitting on my arse drinking beer in the sun and avoiding doing any of the countless pieces of work that needed doing outside). I’d earnt a lazy bird though, as on Saturday morning I’d been to extreme ends to add a bird to the house yearlist… Out walking along the shore to see if we’d had any lambs born overnight I noticed a solitary sandpiper on the rocks below me. It’d be fine if I could say that so casually if it’d been a proper Solitary! Instead, I had me a nice Purple Sandpiper. Only problem… the sandpiper and I were on the shore… and the house was a long way uphill. Shameless lister that I am, I legged it back to the house and from an upstairs window scoped the shore to ink Purple Sandpiper onto the yearlist. My dedication knows no bounds, and with the doves, the Wheatear and the Swallow the list finally passes the 50 mark. Still no Whimbrels…

Collared Doves still around the hens this morning (they know a good thing when they see one), and a Chiffchaff blasting the plantation with song. With a fresh south-easterly blowing, it feels rare today.


One Response

  1. Hi Jon,
    well, every now and again I stimble upon a great blog that takes me by surprise. this is one of them.
    I love the frankness of the way you relate stories – it makes me feel you are standing next to me with a tank-top on and a beer in the hand (bins around the neck).

    I was wondering about house lists the other day. I managed to find some Rock Buntings (rather rare for these parts) on the hill behind the house. not close, mind you, but still within easy sight of the house. the thing I was wondering is: If I can take a photo of the bunting (on a near-sheer cliff mind you), with my house visibly identifiable in the background of the photo, can I count it on my house list?

    the pallid harrier and eagle owl were both excruciatingly close to home, but neither of which I had an icecream’s chance in hell of actually being able to spot from my roof window…
    well, maybe if I climbed up on the chimney… mmm…

    btw, thank you for visiting my blog and yes, please feel free to add a link to it on your blog, tell your friends about it, and kindly ask your neighbourhood grannies to get online so they can see what is happening over in the alps!

    happy birding

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