As i had just finished my nightshift,on the journey south,i attempted to grab some sleep,but it wasn't easy with thoughts of this mega in my mind.
The weather thankfully was scorching and as Tim and John wanted to try and see the reported male Amherst Pheasant at Lidlington in Bedfordshire,this is where we headed first.
After arriving in this quiet rural village,we headed through the local churchyard to the birds chosen area.
The area the bird was present in was thick woodland and not easy to see into to be fair,the closest i got to seeing it was several bursts of calling from thick cover and to be honest i couldn't have cared less.I was far more interested in watching the local Garden Warblers which showed nicely and i managed to find 3 Coreus marginatus,not a common species in my local area in North Linc's.
Full marks to the lads,as they eventually managed a 10 second view of the Pheasant as it wandered about it's woodland home,a UK tick for them both.
After visiting the dodgy chicken it was on to the next site,the amazing Thursley Common.
After a traffic filled journey and a bit of both birding and plane spotting from the car seeing 2 Hobbies,a couple of Red Kites,several Common Buzzards and the best of the bunch the HUGE Airbus A380 while passing Heathrow,we eventually arrived at Thursley.
Our targets here were the lovely local Dartford Warblers and after a bit of searching we managed to find a male which was watched collecting food and visiting his presumed mate on the nest,as he kept returning to the same area giving some lovely views.
These were John's first Dartfords in the UK and it was great for both Tim and myself to re-aquaint ourselves with this cracking little native Sylvia Warbler.
Other sightings at Thursley included Common Buzzard,Male Stonechat and 35 plus Common Lizards,always a feature of the boardwalk here.
Time was getting on,so we headed back to the car and made our way to the final site of the day and the main target of our visit the Rufous-turtle Dove.
After more frustrating traffic for Tim to work his way through we eventually arrived at the Doves chosen street and garden.
Next ensued a patient wait until the bird eventually and thankfully flew into one of its favourite trees and could be seen,only just at first due to it's position in the tree,but we eventually got a decent angle on the bird and bit by bit managed to piece together the birds ID features,such as the paler tips to the tail feathers compared to the race 'Orientalis'.
This my first sighting of the race 'Meena' known as Rufous-turtle Dove which has been split from the other race 'Orientalis' known as Oriental-turtle Dove.Fortunately i have seen 'Orientalis' as well,after having the bizarre experience of seeing the Oxfordshire bird stood in the Akers family kitchen in March 2011 and as they are both deemed as possible full species on their own merits,today's bird maybe a future armchair tick.The bird was a new species,regardless of race for both Tim and John,so was a twitching success all round for us.
So after a hectic dash around,all the target birds were seen and we all made the long journey back north.A big thanks to Tim for driving and another successfull twitch executed.