August 15, 2015 - This morning I had every intention of joining Jeremy and Alex at Conneaut to look for the Piping Plover. A late night ...

RBS - Good Morning South Charleston - by Chris Collins

August 15, 2015 -

This morning I had every intention of joining Jeremy and Alex at Conneaut to look for the Piping Plover. A late night last night and a seductive snooze button this morning put an end to those plans. Instead I made a short trip to South Charleston to savor a local specialty...

South Charleston is one of only a few places in the state that a birder doing an Ohio Big Year, or just a year list, can see the beautiful, if somewhat dimwitted gentle-looking, Eurasian Collared-Dove. This year I am taking it easy and have set a manageable goal of 250 Ohio species. A free Saturday, sitting at 249, prompts a trip slightly northeast of home to try to find this dapper dove.

Not a Eurasian Collared-Dove
Grain silos dominate the landscape on the east side of town. The fields are full of Killdeer, Horned Larks, Rock Pigeons, and House Sparrows. These silos also lure in hundreds, if not thousands, of Mourning Doves. Finding a Eurasian Collared-Dove amidst the Mourning Doves isn't quite the "needle-in-a-haystack" challenge of finding a Thayer's Gull, but it can be a daunting task if the silos are active and the birds have gathered.

Today it was fairly easy to find the much larger ECDO. I had walked about 50 yards when a flash of white accompanied a dove landing on a wire. A quick look through my bins confirmed it was my target. #250. I decided to try to get a decent photo, as the ones I have taken in the past weren't quite up to my standards. Driving down Church St. I noticed five large birds on a wire near a gravel turnaround. All five were Eurasian Collared-Doves!

Eurasian Collared-Dove
As I turned into the lot, three of them took off. The other two didn't seem to mind me being there. I maneuvered into a better position and fired off a few shots before a large pickup truck turned into the drive. Being a bit self-conscious about the possibility of upsetting the property owner, I decided to have a chat with him. I explained that I was just taking photos of the birds on the wire and he asked, "What birds?" I replied, "The Eurasian Collared-Doves." He was so excited! It turned out he had owned the property for three years and the birds spend most of their time there, but he didn't know what they were called. He expressed that they were, "So very pretty" and that he was so happy to have met me.

I hung around a few minutes longer, then made my way home. Happy to have found my target, and to have helped someone else expand their knowledge of the birds around us. It was a good morning.

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