Jeff Spaulding, Ryan Steiner and I took the south-western section of the circle. Early on Jeff and Ryan identified a Pine Warbler hanging out at a seep off Wells Rd., and we were mighty pleased. Su Snyder and crew found 3 Cackling Geese among the thousand or so Canada Geese in their quadrant. But things got even better in the afternoon...
back a long lane, down one of the barely paved county roads, the owner had reported seeing a White-winged Dove during Christmas Eve and Christmas day. We generously volunteered to double check it and try for a photo for documentation. The Beerys have a wonderful feeder set-up and a flock of 20 or so doves hang out in their woodlot. It took a bit of searching, but we finally located the bird, comfortably resting in the myriad of branches. We took a few snap-shots and marvelled at this southern wonder so far from its home. It must have wanted to experience its own White Christmas!
White-winged Doves are a real rarity in Ohio. When they have been sighted, it is generally a short term thing. Never much more than a day or so. As you can imagine birders will be chomping at the bit to see this beauty, and the owner is planning for the happy masses of people that are certain flock to his feeders to partake in viewing nature's Christmas gift to birders.
A few fellow Christmas Bird counters joined us for a gander at this southern species and we celebrated our good fortune with a photo. Bianca, Ryan, Jeff, Cheryl (the Weedpicker) and Marcia huddled under a white pine tree for this photo.
The best news, the home owner is now allowing folks to visit. Watch the Ohio list-serve for details. Please park out at the buildings by the road, and walk the 1/2 mile into the house, as the drive is narrow and serve several other homes as well.
Hopefully, many other birders will be able to enjoy this winter's White-winged Wonder. Ho Ho Ho! It was a Merry Christmas indeed!