Roll up - £5 a twitch!

First published in News South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

Have you ever indulged in a spot of twitching?

A little personal you may think, I’m not talking about involuntary body movements but the pastime of bird watching.

Many thousands of twitchers enjoy nothing more than yomping into the undergrowth with a pair of binoculars, some tea and sandwiches and a sensible jacket to try and spot the great crested warbler.

Anyway, I feel I’m doing down a perfectly harmless hobby with my first paragraph as there’s a lot of twitching about.

None more so than in the town of Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. Hundreds of ornithologists, to give them their proper name, flocked there (see what I did) recently after word got around that the Oriental Turtle Dove had been spotted in the garden of Steve Akers’ house.

Steve spotted the bird while having breakfast and after a quick call to the RSPCB confirmed that it was in fact the Strettopelia orientalis, which as everyone knows is the Latin name for the Oriental Turtle Dove.

Clearly a man of the people, Steve decided to open up his kitchen for fellow enthusiasts to come along and witness this rare event.

He then charged £5 for charity to get into his house for five minutes to take pictures and do the other things that twitchers do when lots of them are gathered in the same place.

Apparently the Oriental Turtle Dove would much rather fly around in Russia and the Indian sub-continent. It rarely comes to Britain; in fact it’s only been spotted here twice, mostly because it’s too far to fly and the exchange rate’s rubbish.

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