May 10, 2008 - 5:45 pm / Cape May Point, New Jersey
Take a look at this picture. What do you see? At first glance you see team
member Mike Fritz in front of a building looking at the camera. But take a
closer look! You will see Mike's hand, beside his head, pointing at a dot in
the distance. And that dot is sitting on a wire. Yes, Mike is pointing at a
bird on the wire as he looks at the camera!
The story behind this picture.
It was the 2008 World Series of Birding. The Nikon/DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes
had been birding hard since midnight. We had traveled the length of New
Jersey and now we were in Cape May. Every species was important! Every
minute was important! We knew what species to expect at various locations
and we were scrambling to get to all our locations in the short time left in
our birding day. We parked our van on Lake Drive beside Saint
Peter's-By-The-Sea Episcopal Church in Cape May Point and ran out to the
beach for a quick sea watch. After our allotted time we ran back to the van.
Scopes were stowed, seated reclaimed, doors closed, and our attention was
shifting to our next location and the next set of birds. Just then a bird
quietly flew in and landed on a wire on Ocean Avenue across the street from
where we were parked.
It was a dove. We had seen doves all day and there was no purpose in
pointing out another dove on the wire. But a shout rang out "Look at that
bird"! Who made the initial shout (probably Mike) is not something we
remember but in an instant all of us looked at the bird. It was not the
usual expected dove species, which would be a Mourning Dove. It was
something different - an Eurasian Collared-Dove! Sitting there for all of us
to see! It had just flown in! Tick! Another species was added to our list.
And this one very easily could have been missed. Quickly, for grins and
giggles, Mike pointed at the dove, Bert snapped the picture, we all high
fived each other and off we went. Four very happy birders.
We knew an Eurasian Collared-Dove had been reported once or twice in the
general area for about two weeks. But for all the scouting in the area, no
teams had seen it during scouting. And we later found out no teams, besides
ourselves, saw this species on the big day.
It pays to look at every bird. And it pays to be lucky!