Sunday, November 28, 2010

White-winged Dove

 Alas, I got a good view of the White-winged Dove. The White-winged Dove typically breeds in the southwest U.S. and Mexico. However, by some twist of wind or fate, this one finds itself on an island in the North Atlantic. This WWD located in the village of Quidi Vidi is not the first to land here and probably won't be the last. Last year one took up residency in Pouch Cove and stayed for quite a while.  I made numerous trips to Pouch Cove during that snowy time to get a good look at this bird, but it didn't happen. I saw it in flight on two
different occasions but never got a good look.

I was really pleased when the call went out that another WWD had come calling, this time even closer. It is so nice when birders who make these great finds share the information with the whole birding community.  Yet, don't be fooled into thinking that the bird will be sitting in a spot just waiting and posing for you.

I made at least five visits to the place where the dove was seen and got no glimpse of it. This, I think, is one of the dimensions of birding that makes birdwatching so challenging and, at the
same time, rewarding. It seems to be a lot about the hunt and then the satisfying find.

 Typical after actually locating the bird is the work required to get an unobstructed view. When I first saw the White-winged Dove this morning, it was hiding behind multiple twigs leaving only a patchwork of the bird visible. (See the second picture.)

This can sometimes provide needed time to test the camera settings and try to get the electronics ready for the clear view. Then it is the maneuvering required to put yourself in a position to see the bird without spooking it and losing the whole opportunity.

 This morning, I enjoyed the view with other birders. In fact, I know of at least seven birders that were in the area this morning. I'm sure there were more.  After getting a pretty good look at the bird, two of us ventured into the private yard in an attempt to get some clear shots at the dove.

 This White-winged Dove is pretty tame and allowed us to approach fairly close. It finally showed a full face and beak creating the opportunity for some pictures. It is at this time, that I can only hope that my settings are suitable for the conditions. Because it was so cloudy this morning, I had my ISO set at 800 and my shutter speed at 250. That is pretty slow and most any movement of the bird would cause a blur. That made it important for me to try to snap the shots while the dove was still.

 As if to please, the WWD gave a little twirl, fully exposing its back before quickly turning around again to watch what we were doing.

 The brightness of the blue around the eyes is really remarkable.

There is a great similarity between the WWD and the Mourning Dove. In fact, there is a Mourning Dove also frequenting the same yard as our out-of-country visitor. The bold white stripe that runs along the wings is the differential.
After about ten minutes, the WWD decided he had heard enough of my camera clicking and after a few bobs, it lifted off the branch and flew quite a distance away. If the sun ever shines and the wind is not over 25km, I will return to try to get some better pictures. If this bird behaves like the one in Pouch Cove did last year, it may stay around for quite a while. I hope the residents of Quidi Vidi can handle all of the birding tourists.
 Today, December 3, I returned to QV to see if the White Winged Dove was still there. It was and it offered me the best opportunity for pictures today.

 I had a great opportunity to look closely at this bird today without twigs and wing hampering the process. I was surprised at how small it is, much smaller than a Mourning Dove. Its colors are also sharp and it is quite a handsome bird.

I met the homeowner who has been hosting this visitor and he is very pleased that others are enjoying his guest. He tells me that he often has a lot of different birds and often has to look them up in a guide to determine what they are. He was very kind.
I like this bust of the bird because it really shows how blue the eye ring is and the feathery effect above and below the beak. It just goes to show that you have to see a bird multiple times to really get a good look to see all of the features.

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