The Dove Parade Continues

It is probably as hard for a tall white skinny natural blonde heterosexual female actress to land a commercial gig these days as it is to find reliable Internet service on our Expedition Tres. If the current administration needs a reality check on what “infrastructure” means they can get their asses out of DC and try to work remotely in the real world. The good news is we’ve had a lot of fun enjoying what our neighbors to the north have to offer in terms of outdoor activities. A few days ago I was able to get some hard trail running in traversing the steep bluffs of Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin (as if the bluffs were not hard enough already, the heat index in the 100’s didn’t help any!). From there we made it up to Duluth, MN where I was able to fulfill a previous commitment to a fellow blogger friend. Canoeist, kayaker and hiker extraordinaire CJ posted on a trip she took to Jay Cooke State Park (link here). Based on her account, I added it to my places to target in the future. Thanks to Linda’s tremendous trip planning skills that can now be officially checked off.

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

As CJ reported, Jay Cooke is an incredible place complete with a bordering bike trail and plenty of trails to test my endurance. First day took a 14 mile bike ride with Linda and the following day doubled up with a 13 mile run on some brutal elevation changing trails in the morning and then went another 10 miles biking with Linda after that. Another 14 mile biking trip is planned for later today – I might have to crawl my way through the rest of the trip ha! Anyway, big thanks to CJ for the great tip – oh and be sure and check out her site to read about the rest of her travels (link here) – she hangs out across the pond these days.

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

Hit the jump to learn about the star of today’s post!

Probably should get to the featured feathered friend that has been scrolling past you already. Clearly, I have some more work to do to get to the true baseline of drabbiness when it comes to the birding world. My previous attempts of a Sparrow and then a Thrush were met with contradicting feedback. Thinking there might be some financial kickbacks (a pleasant way of saying bribes) happening by those species’ lobbyists. Thinking I might try a Catbird in the future and see how that rests with everyone or maybe even a Plain Chachalaca (it has “plain” right there in the name). For now, I have to continue on based on the limited set of images I currently have at my disposal.

Turning the hue dial just a titch with the latest in the Dove Parade at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park from our trip to Mission, TX at the beginning of the year. I have already covered the Ruddy Ground (link here), the Mourning (link here) and the White-Tipped (link here) from the parade. Well, today I bring you my favorite Dove of all, the Inca Dove (at least in the US – that Ruddy Ground was damn cute).

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

The Inca is much smaller compared to the Mourning and the White-Tipped which is probably the primary characteristic that makes it so appealing. I was surprised to learn in my research that they are actually larger than the Common Ground Dove (link here). Never seen them side by side, but always felt like the Inca was smaller – my day is a success, learned something new. The good news is you can easily distinguish the two small Doves from each other.

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

In fact, it is pretty easy to distinguish the Inca from the rest of the Doves thanks to two key features. One can be seen without much effort and can be easily identified in this series of shots. Their feathering has a dark brown border on the edges of their lighter tan colored feathers. This gives them a “scaled” or armored look. The other Doves have more of a blocked coloring (larger congruent hues). I personally think this gives the Inca more natural camouflage while foraging on the forest floor, especially if they drop lower and cover their pinkish feet. Before I continue, take note of the size differences in the shot below – the larger dove in the background is a White-Tipped and even though it is further behind still towering over our little Inca.

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

The other distinguishing feature can actually be easily seen… as long as it is in flight. This is the feature I enjoy seeing the most as it completely caught me by surprise the first time I encountered this bird. They have a very rich burgundy coloring on their underwings close to their bodies. I always try my best to bring you a variety of angles so my readers can get a full perspective of the species. A bit of an apology with this series as I missed the Inca specimens taking flight. In my defense that was due to the arrival of the super rare Ruddy Ground. I have made a note to rectify this oversight the next time I am down there. You can see this feature if you hop over to Cornell’s website and look at their reference shots (7th shot to the right at the time of this writing).

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

I did manage to get you the rear angle signifying the “end” of the shots hehehe! You can just barely see the edge of their white feathering in their tails which will also be more noticeable in flight. As I’ve covered this Dove in the past, I will not go much deeper into the details and characteristics of this diminutive Dove. Will just leave you with the fact they are primarily Central American birds that just push up slightly into the bordering states. They also have a song that is indicative of my future chances of getting Internet access as we push further north – a cooing of “NO HOPE, NO HOPE”.

Stay well everyone and for all the fellow bloggers I follow, please bear with me as I struggle to keep up with everyone’s great posts while I wallow in the connectivity twilight zone.

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