There’s a new bird hanging around my backyard, a Eurasian collared dove

Here in Kitimat, you hear the “cooing” of doves more frequently these days.

The naturalists say the mourning dove (zenaida macroura)more common in southern British Columbia has been moving north, enticed by the changing climate. Other members of the family Columbidae that from time to time visit the Kitimat Valley are the band-tailed pigeon and most common pigeon of all, known as the rock pigeon or rock dove (Columba livia) even when it hangs out in city streets.

UPDATE:  Since I posted this, I was pointed to  a Kitimat area Facebook debate about the collared dove, which some people have seen in Kitimat over the past two  years or so. (and complaining about the noise).  This was the first collared dove I have seen although I have seen many mourning doves in the neighborhood.

Since the spring a white dove has been active in my neighbourhood, but with it usually perched high on the power lines, I couldn’t be sure what it was until a couple of days ago when it finally landed on my deck, near my feeder.

The Eurasian collared dove on my deck. (Robin Rowland)

Clearly it’s  a Eurasian collared dove  (Streptopelia decaocto) which isn’t even listed in any of my British Columbia bird books.  Wikipedia says the collared dove is native to “warm temperate and subtropical Asia from Turkey east to southern China and south through India to Sri Lanka” and began expanding its range across Europe and other parts of Asia in the early 20th century. The Eurasian collared dove has spread across China and into Japan.

According to Wikipedia a flock of Eurasian collared doves probably escaped from captivity in Nassau, the Bahamas in 1974 and arrived in North America proper in the 1980s with the first formal identification in Arkansas in 1989.  The bird is now found all 48 contiguous US states. It appears to prefer the warmer climes of the more southern US states but with climate change it may be spreading further north.

The Eurasian collared dove prefers the same ecological niche as the mourning dove, which if it isn’t a single vagrant or visitor (it appears to be sticking around) we may be seeing more around the valley. which likely means that like the mourning dove, the Eurasian collared dove is moving north as the climate warms.


This is how I usually saw the dove, high on the power lines. (Robin Rowland)

Birds and water: shots from my trip to England

So what did I do on my summer “vacation”?  I am (semi) retired, so  it isn’t a formal vacation, but I did have some relaxing down time on my trip to England in June. After attending a conference in Liverpool, I went to Stratford-upon-Avon to see the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Julius Caesar, then spent some time with cousins in Oxfordshire and finally went to London to see some shows and some friends.  I didn’t set out to concentrate on bird photography but that was what  the photographic gods provided,


The River Avon (the famous one in Warwickshire) with its swans and the town of Stratford-upon-Avon. (Robin Rowland)


A raven perching in a weeping willow on the banks of the River Avon. (Robin Rowland)


A pair of rooks perch on a bare branch overlooking the River Avon. (Robin Rowland)


A grey heron in a park on the banks of the River Avon. I usually photograph their cousins the great blue herons in our much wilder Kitimat River estuary. The grey heron resembles the great blue but is a bit smaller, with no brown feathers and more grey than blue. (Robin Rowland)


A moorhen among the reeds of the River Avon. (Robin Rowland)

Oxfordshire  Upper Thames River

The upper Thames River near King’s Lock, Oxfordshire, one of the 45 locks on the Thames from London to the river mouth. (Robin Rowland)


A common tern flies over the Thames. (Robin Rowland)

A wood pigeon in flight in one of the upper Thames’ locks. (Robin Rowland)


A pied wagtail (also known as a white wagtail) looking for opportunities at one of the Thames’ locks. (Robin Rowland)


A flock of greylag geese on the Thames. (Robin Rowland)


A greylag goose looks out from the shore grass. (Robin Rowland)


A narrow boat moored on the banks of the Thames–they have to fit through the narrowest locks. (Robin Rowland)


A hooded crow flies over the Thames. (Robin Rowland)

A red kite high above the fields of Oxfordshire. (Robin Rowland)


A magnificent crested grebe. (Robin Rowland)


A black-necked grebe on the River Thames. (Robin Rowland)


A family of greylag geese. (Robin Rowland)


A coot in Farmoor  Reservoir. (Robin Rowland)


A carrion crow flying over Farmoor reservoir. (Robin Rowland)


Our route in the Miss Moffat II along the Upper Thames River.  King’s Lock is at the beginning of the line following the route of the river and the Farmoor Reservoir is the large body of water in the lower left (where we stopped for lunch). Wytham Woods are the wooded area roughly to the right of the river.

Wytham Woods – Oxfordshire

Wytham Woods are an area of ancient semi-natural woodland to the west of Oxford, UK, owned by the University of Oxford and used for environmental research for the past sixty years, including climate change research for the past eighteen. Hiking is permitted by special permit.

Tangled trunks in Wythams Wood, Oxfordshire (Robin Rowland)


My namesake, an English robin, perches on a branch in Wytham Wood, Oxfordshire. (Robin Rowland)


The Serpentine –  London

The Serpentine is a small lake between Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens in London.

A moorhen on a take off run in London’s Serpentine pond. (Robin Rowland)