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I’ve been away on an amazing, intensive, 5-day birding trip with some of my Glamorgan birding friends, mostly in the English county of Kent, though we did also stop off in other places on the way there and back. So, during the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing snippets (not all birds) of that adventure.

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One of the most amazing birds we saw was the Turtle dove, a bird now suffering severe population decline, partly due to habitat loss, partly because so many are shot in Europe as they migrate (amongst other issues).

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I’d never seen a Turtle dove before, only heard one uttering its characteristic purring sound, last year at Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Woods Mill reserve. This time, thanks to one of our group making contact with Operation Turtledove, we were able to visit a private site which, once all their birds arrive back from spending the winter in Africa, has the highest concentration of Turtle doves in Britain.

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Our party split into two groups of five to spend time in the hide – my lot saw two Turtle doves, the other group saw one (not all the birds are back yet). And what stunning birds they are, smaller than I expected (see the comparison with House sparrow and Woodpigeon in the photo above), with wonderfully delicate colours and wing markings. This visit was a real highlight of our trip and it was a huge privilege to have such close sightings of these beautiful birds.

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