Turtle Dove

May 02, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

You cannot fail to have heard about Chris Packham's trips to Malta. Truly ridiculous situation over there - that the Maltese Govt allows the Turtle Dove and Quail spring hunt anyway is terrible, that the hunters shoot with impunity literally anything that moves (including, apparently, raptors roosting on the ground, at night, with torches) is hard to listen to. At the same time that this is all unfolding, I'm seeing some lovely photos come out of the Hortobagy National Park from the Shetland Wildlife group currently out in Hungary, which evokes a pertinent memory. This is where I've had the best views of Turtle Dove ever. Last year I did the same trip to those photography hides out in Debrecen Great Wood, and over the course of the couple of mornings in June as I waited patiently in the darkness, getting eaten by mozzies, an undoubted highlight was a brief visit from a Turtle Dove. Just beautiful. I didn't see one in the UK during the whole of 2013, and unless the flyways are protected (which does not extend to simply Malta, it is a much wider issue, geographically), I doubt I'll see one this year either.

A truly fantastic site, presumably a resident bird at that time of year, it dropped in for perhaps 45 seconds to have a drink, and then was gone. I've not seen one since.


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