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Turtle Doves Newsletter Summer 2020

North Yorkshire Turtle Dove ProjectNorth Yorkshire Turtle Dove Project

Welcome to our second newsletter. As we are slowly released back into civilisation and wilder places we wanted to keep you up to date with our project.

Update on Surveys and Volunteer Involvement

In May of this year a small number of staff from the National Park and Forestry England were given the go-ahead to start surveying the Turtle dove population monitoring squares. We have 20 squares across the project area. Unfortunately we could not use volunteers at this time due to government restrictions.

Our surveys are going well. In the first round of visits we have found turtle doves in over 60% of 1km squares where they have been recorded at least once in the last 5 years.

On the 18th June we got the green light from Forestry England and North Yorkshire CC. to use volunteers again to help with our surveys. We quickly sent out paperwork including risk assessments and survey maps to 18 volunteers so they can help with the second round of surveys taking place between now and the 24th July.

Volunteers Needed for Summer and Autumn

We still have room to take on a small number of volunteers to help with additional surveys in are-as where there may be Turtle doves. For these visits please note you have to be a good early riser! Visits start at or around dawn.

In addition to outdoor visits we also have a small amount of desk based work collating historical species accounts. Please get in touch if you have time to help from home.

Turtle Doves in the North Yorkshire Forest 2020

A male Turtle dove by Richard Baines

A male Turtle Dove all spruced up! Photo taken by Project Officer Richard Baines May 2020 North Yorkshire Forest

During my surveys I recorded the song of several of our North Yorkshire doves. I have uploaded the sound files to the excellent free source web site Xeno Canto. Hear our Turtle Doves singing at 0530 in the morning.

International Links and Stories

Watering hole in Zakouma National Park in Chad by Annie Woodhouse

On the 21st May I received an email from Annie Woodhouse who had been birding in Zakouma National Park in Chad. She took this wonderful photo at a watering hole on the 11th March at 3pm when they were undoubtedly thirsty. It’s great to see Turtle Doves in their wintering grounds and almost certainly immediately prior to migration.

Find out more about Turtle Dove migration.

Dew Pond History

Old photo in a local history book;

Back in the winter we were planning future dew pond restoration projects. Whilst putting together a management plan for Overscar Pond near Lockton we discovered this fabulous old photo in a local history book;

The text in the photo dated 1910 is fascinating. Layers of lime, clay, and straw are finished off with a layer of small broken stones. Water for the mix was brought from a quarter of a mile away. The pond dates back to the 13th Century.

This pond area is still intact but the water area is now overgrown. It can be seen on the right whilst travelling north on the Pickering—Whitby A169 road approximately 1km north of the Fox and Rabbit Inn. Dew ponds are fantastic places for wildlife and provide a critical source of water for many birds such as Turtle Doves.

Help highlight historic changes in wildlife populations

The North York Moors National Park Authority is the lead delivery partner spearheading the Ryevitalise Landscape Partnership Scheme, which is also supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Ryevitalise project has ambitious aims to reconnect people with the landscape, to demonstrate the value of nature and inspire people to champion local conservation issues in the western Rye catchment.

One such initiative ‘Rye Reflections’ is asking for local residents and visitors to send in their memories of wildlife encounters or changes in the landscape that have happened within the living memory of our community in the hope that these casual records will help document important changes in species abundance such as the declines seen in turtle dove and water voles populations.

These captured memories and oral histories will then be taken into local schools to inspire young people using nature writing. The results will be used to develop a range of artistic commissions that will be installed throughout the Ryevitalise landscape over the next three years.

This project is reliant on the input of nature enthusiasts who may have observed these changes, so if you’re able to contribute to this fantastic project please get in touch with the Ryevitalise team. Your contributions will be invaluable to help tell the story of our changing countryside.

Map of Rye Project Area below.

Map of Rye Project area

Historic photo of Rievaulx

We hope you have enjoyed this newsletter, if you have any feedback or requests for future issues please write me an email Please check out our webpage for more turtle dove news and advice.

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