Well despite the awful weather the last few days around Westport have been rather good, yesterday started off with two Shelduck briefly on the main lake, which were year ticks here for me, a couple of Pochard were flying around with some Tufted Duck, on the Hirundine front around 100c Swift were joined by 50c House Martins and just five Sand Martins, by the top pool a Sedge Warbler and two Reed Warblers were singing away plus a male Reed Bunting on here. Later I had another Sedge Warbler singing and showing rather well on the old sewage works, the other highlight was the 4th Hobby of the year over the old gas works which was another Westport year tick for me.
Today the weather was quite frankly 'fowl', at one point I wasn't even going to leave the house as it was snowing!! It did ease off and I decided to risk it, which was a good decision in one way but in terms of the weather not so as it threw it down for large parts of the visit, the temp was 5c but felt more like freezing with a cutting NNW breeze, visit from 06.20 til 09.25.
Warblers were in short supply today due to the weather, just five Blackcap, three Chiffchaff, two Reed Warbler, three Whitethroat and a single Garden Warbler were seen/heard. Two Collared Dove were in the reserve and another on the old sewage works, over the main lake yesterdays Swift had been replaced by c100 House Martins, just c30 Swift today and no Sand Martin, on the main lake five Great Crested Grebe and just two male Tufted Duck, the usual four Mute Swan and another six flew over the old gas works, a Grey Heron also flew over, on the grass bank four Pied Wagtail and two Little Ringed Plover, just three Canada Geese gosling have been around now for the last few days with no sign of were the others have gone.
Back in the reserve and at last a dry spell of weather, a Jay flew over the railway line, up by the top pool, two Willow Tit were joined by a single Coal Tit on the green feeding trays, it was just by here that I noticed a Dove in the tree by the gate to the old gas works, I thought it was another Collared Dove and when I put my bins on it I had a shock when I noticed a mottled back and on it's neck black and white stripes, it was a TURTLE DOVE, I was shaking as I tried to sent a text to Nick and the others I have numbers for, it then flew out the tree and headed towards the old sewage works, at this point the heaven's opened and it rained heavy and I mean heavy for at least an hour, I was soaked, I looked up and down the sewage works but no joy, I headed back to the top pool, no joy, I was then joined by GAS and we again searched the old gas works and old sewage works but no joy. I was gutted that no one else had been able to see it but so happy to find such a rare Staffs bird never mind a Westport rarity, I believe and I'm just awaiting confirmation that it's only the second Westport record.
Thanks to Nick Pomiankowski the county recorder for providing the following records of Turtle Dove at Westport, only two previous records, the first was the 14th April 1997 followed by a second record on the 28th May 1999.
Later in the day Dave Kelsall had a look around, no joy on the Turtle Dove but did manage another Westport year tick in a Spotted Flycatcher around the top pool area.