here (our village newsletter) and 

the East Farleigh Grapevine!

West Farleigh Sports Club for football, cricket & great parties

All Saints church services...


...and hall for hire


Loads of useful contacts 

Links along the valley: parishes, churches & halls

follow me on facebook

Follow us

on Facebook


Subscribe to our events email!

Turtle Dove Update - they're here again

Posted on 15th November, 2022

As Ted Hughes wrote about the return of the swift

‘They’ve made it again,
Which means the globe’s still working,’


I wrote last month about an ambitious project by Kent Wildlife Trust scientist Dr Kirsty Swinnerton, and Marden Wildlife enthusiasts to track the movements and breeding success of Turtle Doves in this part of Kent. Just to remind you, the species is classed as Globally Threatened by the International Union for the Convention of Nature (IUCN), and Kent holds most of the UK’s breeding population. So that we can tell individual birds apart – they look identical – to get an accurate number of breeding pairs, and to follow their movements to find out how they utilise their breeding territory, we need to be able to ring them.


It's an extremely secretive, small dove, whose presence is usually only given away by its gentle purring song from a tall, thick, thorny hedgerow. It must come down to the ground (often in gardens below a bird feeder) to feed on tiny seeds and to drink. This is when they can be carefully trapped, measured (to age and sex them), and ringed with a uniquely numbered metal ring and coloured plastic ones for easy future identification. We are also taking samples of their droppings for laboratory analysis for disease, and any dropped feathers that will be analysed for heavy metals in the environment.


Because they are so wary, the first dove we trapped required an eight-hour wait by a ringer sitting in a camouflaged car – not the most comfortable activity on the hottest day so far this year!


The next challenge is to record sightings of this bird, although conventional wisdom tells us it won’t be seen far from its breeding territory in Marden until it starts its migration journey to sub-Saharan Africa in September.


Our scientists would love to find other Turtle Doves in The Farleighs area. So, if you hear one purring, see one in a field, or are lucky enough to have one visiting your garden PLEASE LET US KNOW. You can do this by email: turtledove@kentwildlife.org.uk or mardenwildlife@gmail.com

Just let us know where you saw it/them – a postcode will be helpful (or drop a pin on Google Maps) – and it can be added to our database to further this important work.

Seeing the real thing in the summer has to be better than just singing about it at Christmas!



Make A Comment

Characters left: 2000

Comments (0)