By Mike Russell
What a treat this morning to hear my first turtle dove purring away and then saw it sitting on a telegraph wire in glorious splendour in the sunshine. This was at West Mill Farm, just upstream from Woods Mill, near Henfield and is now one of the regular territories for this lovely but endangered bird. Just to add to the magic, a nightingale was in full voice just behind it.
The Adur Valley has become a well-known hotspot for the turtle dove but it is still by no means numerous, therefore the Adur Valley Turtle Dove Project is continuing this year to monitor their numbers in the area, try and get a real picture of their numbers there are, their breeding territories and how pairs do successfully breed. It is being co-ordinated by the RSPB, so people are being asked to report any sightings to either the RSPB or the Sussex Ornithological Society (www.sos.org.uk).
With the population of this beautiful bird now reaching critical status in the UK, it is important that we build up as much knowledge as we can so that measures can be put in chance to at least give them a fighting chance of maintaining and increasing a successful population here in this part of Sussex.