Sunday, May 27, 2012

Desperate times

Its been a pretty good spring for turtle doves in Cork but the species still eludes me on patch for the year, and its about the only regular thing I still need this spring.
News of two at nearby (but off-patch) Red Strand got me wondering if they’d be visible from the top of Dirk Bay (on-patch, but approx. 1 km from Red Strand). There is a bit of history with long-range patch ticking from Dirk, (e.g. here) but not for a couple of skulky doves – this could be tricky!
Efforts to find a willing volunteer proved futile, meeting with various piss-poor excuses like “I’m in Kerry” and “Isn’t that harassing migrants” etc, so I drove to Red Strand to dig the birds out myself, in the unlikely hope they’d remain in full view while I pegged it back to Dirk. All was going well, until a power-walker appeared and headed purposefully up the very track alleged to be containing the doves! Bollox! If I was still at Dirk, I’d have seen them flush! Well, I did see them flush twice and then disappear into a tarmaced garden surrounded by a high hedge.
With the doves now pinned, I pegged it back to Dirk. The garden looked pretty small from there, and the light wasn’t great, rendering the 50x on the scope obsolete. However, after about 10 minutes, I noticed something grubbing around on the tarmac beside the house, followed by another something! The excitement reached fever pitch as the two dots doves headed down the driveway towards me – well, ok they got ever so slightly closer! At one point you could nearly clearly see that they were doves, and then one flapped a bit and the crowd went wild!
So, I finally got turtle dove for the year, which together with the water rail I gleaned last night (actually that was off-patch too, but clearly audible from patch) puts me on 115 for the year – streets ahead on any previous year, but will my luck hold?

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