Six weeks…

As we are now within six weeks of the start date I thought I’d give a quick round up on all things Dove Step and also Turtle Doves…

As muted in this post last month, we could we be witnessing the pioneering of a new survival strategy for ‘our’ Turtle Doves? The excellent BirdTrack site lists four birds recorded as wintering this year, across four counties; Cambridgeshire, Lancashire, Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire. The below two images are reproduced with kind permission of the British Trust for Ornithology, retrieved 17th February, 2014.

Location of all records to date in 2014 within 10km squares Red: 25+ records Orange: 1 to 25 records Yellow: Sites visited, no records for this species
Location of all records to date in 2014 within 10km squares
Red: 25+ records
Orange: 1 to 25 records
Yellow: Sites visited, no records for this species
bd272_20
Weekly reporting rate for Turtle Dove
(the proportion of complete lists submitted that include this species)

The Milton Keynes bird was also shared via the RSPB birders Twitter feed and can be viewed below:

Another over wintering Turtle Dove - this one in Milton Keynes copyright Ms Julie Lane
Another over wintering Turtle Dove – this one in Milton Keynes copyright Ms Julie Lane c/o @RSPBbirders Twitter feed.

Obviously, four records doesn’t constitute a population trend! But when considered against the sheer volume of available habitat for wintering Turtle Dove it could be considered an indication of a larger number of unnoticed wintering birds? Of course it has been a mild albeit very wet winter, sick birds that were unable to migrate when the urge required may have stayed on. Or birds may even have escaped from captivity! All food for thought and fingers crossed these over wintering individuals make it through the next couple of months to be re-joined by the migratory brothers and sisters.

Also, are any youngsters (or oldsters for that matter) reading this and considering their future? How about applying for a Turtle Dove Fieldwork internship? What a wonderful opportunity!

Moving onto our Dove Step preparation Tris is continuing to rack up serious miles ahead of his first, of 14! marathons this year this coming weekend. The following weekend three quarters of the team will be over on the Isle of Anglesey for the Island Race – half marathon. Any other competitors or spectators will be able to spot us via our green RSPB vests, as modelled by Tris here:

Tris - looking fly in his new RSPB vest!
Tris – looking fly in his new RSPB vest!

With thanks for reading and as ever many thanks to those who have supported Operation Turtle Dove via the JustGiving page which stands at 136% of our fundraising target! I must up our fundraising target but I am both amazed and delighted at the progress to date!

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