Monday, 2 May 2016

Lady Amherst's Pheasant & Oriental Turtle Dove!

Friday 29th April,  Sunday 1st May

I arrived at Lidlington in Bedfordshire around 6am and after spending six hours looking through a fence, all I came away with was 2 very distant calls and absolutely no sighting of the Lady Amherst's Pheasant! That evening it was again reported and accompanied by a photograph.
Having resisted the temptation all day Saturday to return , I gave in on Sunday and arrived on site at 5.30am. Walking through the cemetary I could already hear the Lady A calling, The calls seemed to be coming from the back of the wooded area as I approached the wooden steps heading up the slope, but no amount of scanning could locate any sight of the bird! The bird called consistently for the next two hours and seemed to be moving down the ridge. Having walked down to the lower ride area the calls seemed to get louder and closer. I walked down to try to get a better view of the ridge in case it came wandering along the top and as soon as I did the bird appeared on the track on the lower ride. a mad dash back up the hill and luckily the bird was still in sight. It ran left out of view and then back right onto the track before running right and heading into what looked like thicker cover. There must have been a channel through the scrub because it suddenly appeared on top of the ridge. In total I saw the bird for no more than a minute but it was a memorable minute!

Monday 2nd May

Brian having arrived back from Scotland didn't fancy the Lidlington trip (who could blame him?) and had instead headed to Otford and bagged himself the Oriental Turtle Dove within minutes of arriving.
So this morning dad and myself made the forty mile trip to Otford in Kent, arriving at 6.30 to find plenty of birders already present on the corner of the road (The Butts) scanning the trees of the favoured garden. The bird was already showing, but  after a brief view it flew onto the ground and out of sight. The wait began and continued for the next two hours. One false alarm saw us heading for the other end of the road before everyone returned to the original spot. Soon afterwards the bird was re-found, this time perched up in the tall conifer allowing some very nice scope views. Two lifers in two days, a disappointing Friday had turned into a very good Bank Holiday weekend!

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