Along with hundreds of other birders, twitchers & ornithologists I made my way to Chipping Norton in the hope of seeing the Oriental Turtle Dove that had been found in Steve Akers garden at “The Leys”. With this mega rarity being some 3,000 miles off course it was obviously going to attract at lot of interest but I was surprised to see some 500+ people at The Leys when I arrived. The Dove had been and gone from it’s normal early morning feeding station and the queue outside No 41 stretched up the road, deciding that I would have little chance in seeing the bird if queued I decided to scan the surrounding areas in the hope that I might find it lurking somewhere. The local residents were extremely interested and friendly with many offering visiting birders their gardens to look from, after meeting up with a friend I took the opportunity to join him in a garden that we had almost to ourselves. Unfortunately the Dove couldn’t be relocated and I spent most of the day searching, viewing and wandering around without any luck as did the majority of birders that stayed the day. The only highlights being 3 Bullfinch at The Leys and a single Peregrine perched on a tower by Bliss Mill.
My next visit was much of the same, the Dove had been and gone in to hiding again and wasn’t seen throughout the day. Finally on my 3rd attempt, just as I arrived and was walking towards No 41 I watched as the OTD flew overhead from the garden and west towards the Ash trees behind the houses on the west side of the street. I quickened my pace which turned from hasty walk to jog and then run towards the bottom of The Leys where I finally found the a number of birders watching the OTD perched in the Ash trees preening. Even with few leaves on the trees the Dove was difficult to pick out amongst the branches and the backdrop of a cold grey sky but there it remained for 20 minutes with half-a-dozen observers watching it.
So after 3 attempts I finally got to see it, not great views by any means but I was still extremely pleased to have caught up with it in the end.