“People often ask me how it is that I seem to be so much at peace. There is a primary reason — and it is available to all who wish to have it. Here’s a simple prerequisite to attaining peace at that level. I invite you to observe the beasts, birds and fish and let them teach you. Let this be a daily routine and life, as you know it, will never be the same.”
– Eddie Bo

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Day 126 - Finding Common Ground

This morning I headed out to western Goleta in search of a Common Ground-Dove.  Apparently there are a few that live in the orchards and agricultural areas in this area.  This is a bird I have not seen before in Santa Barbara County.  There have been a couple of recent and reliable reports from Glen Annie Road, both sightings were of a single dove flying from an orchard across the road.

The Common Ground-Dove is somewhat similar in appearance to the very common Mourning Dove, though smaller, with a short tail, and rufous color in the undersides of the wings.

I arrived in the search area and began looking around.  There are quite a few orchards in the area.  All I could think was "what are the odds that I am going to see a single dove fly across the road?"  There was a good level of bird activity in the area.  A Red-shouldered Hawk appeared to be bringing food to a nest in a Palm tree, but I could not see into the foliage to confirm this.  Interestingly, there was also a pair of Hooded Orioles in the same tree that did not seem to be bothered by the hawk's presence.

I looked around the area for about an hour.  There were Mourning Doves and Eurasian Collared-Doves, but no luck on the Ground-Dove.

I decided I would make one more pass through the area before giving up.  I came around the corner and saw a bird on the telephone wire.  When I got my binocs on it, I could see it was a compact dove with spotted wings and a short tail - my target bird!  It stayed there for a little bit and then, according to plan, flew across the road clearly showing the rufous color under its wings.  A fairly brief view but more than what I was expecting - no time for a photo.  Frankly I was a little shocked, but very happy!  This is not a species I had expected to see this year.

I passed through Devereux Slough on the way home.  There were 3 very pale Collared-Doves there.  They may be pale Eurasian Collared-Doves, or possibly African Collared-Doves.  The two species are very difficult to distinguish.  Hopefully I'll get some expert advice on this, but it is possible we may never know.  Some birds you see simply evade definitive ID.

A few photos from today:


Great Bue Heron

Pale Eurasian or possible African Collared-dove?

After the addition of today's 1 species, the year's total stands at 225.

Today I rode a total of 33.2 miles

More later,

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