A Case of Mistaken Identity

Welcome back everyone! Had my first run this morning since the long event and the body is a little better than expected even though it was a short 7 miler. Most of the kinks are out and just need to work a bit more on the heat conditioning before hitting it hard again. All this rain, as of late, has been keeping the temps down – with the wet stuff moving on, the mercury and humidity are starting to creep up again. You could almost mistake this for summer again ha! Speaking of mistakes…

Mourning Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

…tonight’s featured feathered friend managed to fool me in the field. This specimen was found at the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park back on our holiday trip to Texas in the beginning of the year. Ironically, we were there in hopes of tinning a rarity that had shown up. Eventually got that bird, the Ruddy Ground Dove and already posted on that experience (link here).

Mourning Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

Hit the jump to learn about how I was deceived.

While hanging out at the feeders waiting for that South America rarity to show itself, a whole multitude of Doves were cascading by. The White-Tipped, the White-Winged and the Inca were all there taking in the free food. If you need to up your Dove game, the Texas border is a great place to get that done. Except if you’re Ron – for some reason were not able to find any of the Whites (Tipped or Winged) when he was down there with us a few years back. That would be the “He who owes me bigly” event that the world is STILL waiting for him to post on – come on everyone, let’s nudge him to get that done.

Mourning Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

There is something to be said for birding where you sit in a covered swing and simply shoot the variety of birds that literally parade past you. Definitely a good learning experience for Linda as I could introduce her to a multitude of new birds without her having to expend any energy. She tends to get a bit cranky when I convince her to explore – especially when I get lost or the terrain ends up being very understated in the brochure. Not sure I’ll ever live down going out for the Peregrine Falcons at Acadia. Somehow our marriage survived that (by the way, Tuesday is our 30th anniversary – before you ask, yes, she is incredibly tolerant of all the crazy things I do ha!)

Mourning Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

Hmmm, seem to be all over the place on this post – crisp it up Bri. On my behalf, it is pretty hard to spice up a post on probably the most common Dove in North America. If you haven’t figured it out yet, this series isn’t of the more exotic Doves, rather the nearly universal Mourning Dove. With the exception of the upper northwest, everyone else probably has a visit from one of these birds at least once a week. I usually do not get that excited about them – snap a few shots just to have a record for the outing’s bird count and start looking for a better target.

Mourning Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

As you can tell, I ended up taking a number of shots of our pink legged friend. The reason for that is very simple – I thought it was a different bird. Yep, I was duped by what I thought was a field marking that ended up just being a wind fluff or a foot scratch that made it look like it had a line on its neck – Specifically, in the collar area which you can see best in the first shot above. I still contend it was a planned deception to get some attention from an often ignored species. Well, it worked – from within camera it looked like an Eurasian Collared-Dove. If I would have double-checked the placement of the supposed collar mark (this one was too low) and even easier, noted the black splotches on the back I could have righted my mistake and saved some space in the tin.

Mourning Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

This Dove was busy laughing its ass off having fooled me. “Hey everyone look at this birder noob that thinks I’m a… ummm, hey wait, crap, is that the damn Ruddy Ground Dove – great, now there won’t be any cameras pointed my way.” “Take the walk of shame Mourning, a quality bird be parading. ” For the record, I have not claimed an Eurasian Collared yet – actually have one in the backlog, so not a big issue on the miss here, just hoped I could use a more recent series as I know my readers prefer I stay in the 1-2 year range.

Just a quick one today in honor of the sunflower fields that just went full bloom in the state park where I train. Once the season is over, they mow lines in them for the Dove hunters. Their target – you guessed it, the Mourning Dove. Before you get worried, there are plenty of Mournings about. Cornell states there are 350 million which has stayed strong even with the 20 million shot per year.

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