Turtle Doves stay at Twitchers Retreat B&B

The following post is from Operation Turtle Dove supporter and Twitchers Retreat B&B owner, Maria Fountain:

Is it a dove with tattoos on its neck instead of a ring and funny coloured wings, or a small pigeon which looks like a dove?

In 2011 we had a pair of bedraggled strange birds land in our garden, as non birders we did not know that we were in fact looking at a pair of TURTLE DOVES that had just arrived from their migration from Africa!! We nurtured them through until early September 2011 when they flew away.

This year on 12th May 2012, I had refilled the feeders and looked out of the conservatory dining room window and the Turtle Doves were back again, they had found their way back to TWITCHERS RETREAT Bed and Breakfast at Snettisham!

We are a small four star gold bed and breakfast just 10 minutes walk from the RSPB reserve at Snettisham.  We have a wildlife garden and pond surrounded by marshes and two neighbours who have not touched their gardens in years thus providing a bird paradise with thistles, brambles and much more.  Just like the birders who are visiting the RSPB reserves that we cater for, the doves returned every day for breakfast (we provide flexible breakfast times to enable the birders to go out early in the morning and return for a full English breakfast freshly cooked up until 10.30ish).

The doves appeared to be nesting in the conifer hedge at the bottom of the garden and one or both came regularly throughout the day to feed on the fine finch seed we provided for them. When they first returned they were in poor condition but after a week of constant feeding they started to plump up.  It was a thrill to watch sometimes one or both of them feeding together.  We waited in anticipation for some young but it was not to be.

We have a huge variety of birds visiting our garden from kestrels to moorhens nesting on the pond to the 30 plus goldfinch, dunnock, siskins, four varieties of tit and many more.  They all provided us with babies and hours of delight watching their antics on the feeders.

On the 18th August our doves left us and started the long flight home to Africa.  Alison, from Operation Turtle Dove, came to see us to look at the habitat we provided and our friends across the road, Clare and Tim, who have a 3 acre field have also come on board and will be setting aside a piece of their field and seeding it to provide natural food for the Turtle Doves.

We are now just waiting for next May when we hope our distinguished birds will return to TWITCHERS RETREAT B & B where they, like you, will be assured of a warm welcome.

Please go to http://www.twitchers-retreat.co.uk/bed-and-breakfast-snettisham/ for further details on this beautifully warm and welcoming Birders B&B.