‘I’m very proud of the groups efforts; it wasn’t easy, particularly day one and every member of the team showed guts and tenacity. Well done to all and best of luck to the lads in the rest of their tough challenge. Be strong and be safe.’
Daily distance: 11.89 miles
Weather: Blue skies, 9 degrees, 15mph North Easterlies.
Sea state: 4 – 5, strong winds, rough, 2m swell.
Best bird seen: Wheatear
No decline on the scale shown by turtle doves (decline by 74% across Europe since 1980) is going to be reversed by a single action. But last years’ 300 mile walk, completed by the Dove Step team, raised enough money to install 9 hectares of feeding habitat. This small amount can make a difference, but perhaps more importantly, raised awareness will help to create stronger public support for the Turtle Dove and other species threatened in our wider countryside.
‘Here the outward show is nothing, it is the inward purpose that counts. So the ‘Gods’ dwindle and the humble supplant them. Pretence is useless.’
Captain Scott – 5 May, 1911
- Malta is a microcosm of the European Union albeit a damaging one.
- The ignorance of a proportion of the population doesn’t colour all the islanders.
- All other EU member states have outlawed (legal) shooting of Turtle Dove in the Spring.
- There are individuals such as Fiona Burrows on the ground, risking personal safety to protect migrant birds.
- The referendum has raised the shooting of Turtle Dove and other migrants at international level; gaining column inches and reaction from both the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ camps.
- Operation Turtle Dove, inclusive of its partners, are working to support Turtle Doves across their range.
- ‘Our’ Turtle Doves at least avoid the eastern flyway over Malta used predominantly by Balkan breeders.
- The Dove Step team won’t stop over a referendum result, online detractors or any barrier to stabilisation of the European Turtle Dove population.