Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Third time's a charm

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Eurasian Collared-Dove, Pier 63, Hudson River Greenway
Mysterious Eurasian Collared-Dove, at last I've found you!

I went downtown again today to look for the Eurasian Collared-Dove. It was not around the Chelsea Waterside Park where people were seeing it this weekend, but when I reached the Pier 63 area, I saw a robust, light brown to cream-colored dove, a little smaller than a pigeon,
foraging alone on the lawn just across the path from the flower beds where it was first reported. It had black tips on its folded wings, no spots, a square tail, and--yes!--a black crescent mark around the back and sides of the neck. The part on the back of the neck was not visible in some postures and light but very obvious at other times, so it took a while for me to be sure I was seeing the object bird. But there it was.

I first saw it on the grass beyond a fence along the path,with benches on the path side, the nearest bench to the bird was occupied. After spotting the bird and having trouble photographing it, I circled around the far end of the fence and settled under a tree on a slight rise about 30 feet from the bird, who took no special notice of me and it eventually walked to within 8 feet of where I sat (and then away and back again).

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Eurasian Collared-Dove, Pier 63, Hudson River Greenway
Not really a skittish bird.

The dove puffed up a couple of times to see off a robin and a fledgling starling. I noticed that adult starlings in the area nearby kept their distance, However, it walked rapidly away from two House Finches that flew in near it, and eventually flushed to the low branches of a conifer behind me after a group of five House Sparrows came and started dust-bathing a few feet from it. I think maybe it doesn't like small active birds.

After flying to the tree (and its wing sounds were like a Mourning Dove's, perhaps a little higher-pitched) the bird began to preen, and then moved farther back into the branches. I went for a walk around the flower beds and the native plant garden to the north, and when I returned, the dove was back on the grass in the same area.

So, I've seen the Collared-Dove. (That's 169 species in New York County this year.) I was starting to worry I'd be the only birder in Manhattan who missed it. Whew!

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