Well, I wasn’t really planning any photography for today, just had some garden chores to get on with. So there I was, earthing up the spuds, I glanced up and what did I see? A pair of Turtle doves feeding underneath my new feeder at the end of the garden! The feeder’s only been set up a week! Woo hoo! Anyone who knows me will know that I love Turtle doves. When I was a teenager I spent several months documenting the comings and goings of a pair of them which used feed in my parents garden. This was before I was so ‘into’ photography, so my documentation consisted of a strict journal of observations – the time of day, behaviour etc.

Why Turtle doves? Well I’m not entirely sure, back then I thought they’d been forgotten about by conservationists. They suffered a massive decline, but I couldn’t see anyone shouting about it. Perhaps it was the Turtle dove that got me interested in conservation. The Turtle dove has Red status meaning it has the highest conservation priority, and people are doing something. The RSPB is campaigning to stop the illegal killing of these birds (and others), and I believe that Pensthorpe has/had a breeding programme for them. But loss of habitat is a difficult one to change. Hopefully the birds will hang around, we certainly have some of their preferred tall messy hedgerows around here, so fingers crossed.

Anyway, back to the garden. After seeing them, I decided to get out there with the camera and try for a few shots. Unfortunately they didn’t reappear. The other garden visitors were much more happy in front of the camera, including this Robin.

Who was a bit of a poser…

A group of Starlings, busy collecting food for their young, were amusing to watch squabbling amongst themselves and with the female blackbird, who was determined not to be pushed off her food. Eventually a tense stalemate was reached and everyone got their share.

All this activity bodes well for my new feeding station, which was set up specifically for photography. Now all I have to do is work out how to stop the local Squirrel from nicking all the food!