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Migration News - The European Turtle Dove - Streptopelia turtur - UK Status

Even though many European Turtle Doves arrived on cue in the UK, on or  about 20 April, they have so far failed to materialise in greater numbers. In fact, I would describe their current status here as critical.

This once abundant species is now confined in its stronghold to just coastal Essex and Kent, and is now fairly scarce in Suffolk and Norfolk, as well as in Lincolnshire  and Yorkshire. Elsewhere it is becoming increasingly rare, in counties like Bedfordshire, Bucks, Cambs, Surrey and Hampshire. So I would estimate that no more  than 300 birds are in this country right now; and that is very critical indeed.

Just 35 years ago, I would join the late Richard Richardson on the East Bank at Cley NWT Reserve on the North Norfolk coast and watch flocks of 100 or more Turtle Doves coast westwards in late April through to late May.

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