Inca Dove and Things

On Monday, October 6th, I journeyed out to David D. Terry Lock and Dam.  As usual, I went through Harper Rd.  I didn’t think this was going to be too birdy of a day but you never know.

Starting down Harper I got several European Starlings, Mockingbirds, and Cardinals.  A creek running perpendicular to the road was lined with baccharis (Baccharis halimifolia) and goldenrod (Solidago sp.).  There were several cardinals and mockingbirds foraging in these thickets.  Titmice and wrens called from nearby woods.  One bird that seemed to be the most prevalent today was the Brown Thrasher.  I probably heard over 10 today.  Their signature “smack” call was heard almost all over.  In an overgrown field that may have once held soy bean, I saw a small bird foraging among stalks.  My first thought was Sedge Wren which would be a lifer.  However, I got a good silhouette view and could tell by shape and call that this was an Indigo Bunting.  You could tell that is was migratin’ time by the vast amounts of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers.  On a road that normally has about 10, I saw over 30.  The power lines had a duke’s mixture of birds, featuring Scissor-tails, Mourning Doves, Barn Swallows, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, and Kestrels (6 total).  Killdeer and Doves foraged on recently disked fields and were constantly harassed by a young Kestrel.  While driving down the field roads, I flushed a couple of Flickers up.  The final leg of Harper Rd has a small neighborhood where I find large congregations of “urban” birds which usually include doves, robins, grackles, starlings, house sparrows, etc.  Today was similar to others and I found several grackles and swallows.  Today I found two Inca Doves.  One I flushed from the side of the road and the other I flushed from a puddle on the road.  These are somewhat rare in the state but have become established in a few places.  Luckily this is one of those places.  In flight these are easy to identify.  They have bright reddish-orange under wing coverts and white outer tail feathers.  The red underwing and smallish size (about 6-7 inches long) distinguish it from Mourning, Eurasian-Collared, White-winged, and Rock Doves.  Its long tail distinguishes it from the Common Ground Dove which is even more rare than the Inca Dove in the state.  After being flushed they flew to power lines and one started to sing which was a great treat to hear.

Inca Dove

Inca Dove

I pulled into the park and saw several Eastern Meadowlarks fly into a nearby field.  A lone Double-crested Cormorant flew over towards the northwest.  Just before the park is a series of fields and one has been converted into a topsoil pit.  A Belted Kingfisher rattled as it flew over the pits.  I drove into the actual park and stopped at a little bay of the AR river.  Here I found the kingfisher again along with a Great Egret and a steady stream of Blue Jays.  I never think about Blue Jay migration since we have them year round in the state, but I think they are one of the more irruptive songbirds as far as migration goes.  Black Willows (Salix nigra) lined this still part of the river.  In these willows were several woodpeckers: Flickers, Red-bellieds, and Downies.  A few small songbirds were flitting about in the willows and understory.  I was distracted by dragonflies and butterflies and could only identify one: a female Common Yellowthroat.  The dragonflies that were so mesmerizing were Eastern Pondhawks and the butterfly was a Viceroy.  The Viceroy’s larval foodplants are willows so its presence was fitting.  As I walked closer to these insects I saw a tiny little damselfly in the grass.  Its abdomen was yellowish and I determined it was a Citrine Forktail.  These look like a little floating yellow line.  They never seem to stray far from vegetation.  I went to the dam to be disappointed.  Nothing out there as far as water birds.  I did get to see a Variegated Fritillary which is always a treat.  As I left the park and travelled along fields I saw two immature Brown-headed Cowbirds on top of a utility pole.  I never seem to see these in the fall or winter.  They are here year round but they become less prevalent during the latter part of the year.  Above me were about 15 Turkey Vultures soaring.  A few were on the road but I could not see a carcass.  I journeyed back to my abode and caught one last bit of Inca Dove song.

Rambur's Forktail

Rambur’s Forktail

Citrine Forktail

Citrine Forktail

Here are the lists:


  1. Northern Mockingbird
  2. European Starling
  3. Blue Jay
  4. Northern Cardinal
  5. American Crow
  6. Tufted Titmouse
  7. Carolina Chickadee
  8. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  9. American Kestrel
  10. Indigo Bunting
  11. Mourning Dove
  12. Northern Flicker
  13. Barn Swallow
  14. Killdeer
  15. Inca Dove
  16. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  17. House Sparrow
  18. Brown Thrasher
  19. Loggerhead Shrike
  20. Turkey Vulture
  21. Common Grackle
  22. Eastern Meadowlark
  23. Double-crested Cormorant
  24. Belted Kingfisher
  25. Carolina Wren
  26. Downy Woodpecker
  27. Great Blue Heron
  28. Great Egret
  29. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  30. Common Yellowthroat
  31. Eastern Phoebe
  32. Brown-headed Cowbird
  33. Eastern Bluebird

Dragonflies, Damselflies, and Butterflies

  1. Eastern Pondhawk
  2. Citrine Forktail
  3. Rambur’s Forktail
  4. Viceroy
  5. Phaon Crescent
  6. Cloudless Sulphur
  7. Variegated Fritillary
  8. Red-spotted Purple
  9. Orange Sulphur

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