At 4:40PM today, Frank Mantlik found two Eurasian Collared-Doves at the airport in Stratford. They were near the entrance, and after he got some digi-binned photos, they flew off towards the east out of sight. Several birders headed down to try to relocate them. I headed back to the airport just before 6:00PM after checking out our own Stratford Point and nearby areas.
By a stroke of luck, I saw them fly into a tree near the main terminal as I slowly drove around. I knew instantly that it was them by the size, color of the wings and back, tail, and collar, even before they landed. Roy Harvey was in his car behind me and saw them in the tree after I called out. I turned the car so I could snap off as many photos as I could and get some video before they moved while emailing this news out and calling others. Apart from Frank's quick distant photos, and assuming no one else saw the birds this evening, these are the only photos and the only video of them.
Here are two so-so looks at both birds:
The video shows one bird, then the other, and then both together:
Tina Green and our own Coastal Center Director Frank Gallo arrived in time to see them. We turned away as they parked their cars for a few seconds and the doves were gone. It was silent at the time and we did not hear them fly. We would've seen them in the air in such an open area. We suspect they went behind the buildings and to inaccessible areas of the airport. We shouldn't have broken the "never turn away from a rare bird for a second" rule, but this was quite a vanishing act. One has to think it is highly likely they will be there, if anywhere, tomorrow.
Photos © Scott Kruitbosch