Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Difficulty finding a feral pigeon

Having seen my UCD list, Niall mentioned he'd managed much the same give or take a few species when he was surveying UCD last March. Some species he mentioned I think I'll eventually see as the year goes on (Oystercatcher, House Sparrow, Sparrowhawk and Stock Dove), but one species he mentioned I was suprised I hadn't listed already - the mega common Feral Pigeon.
Confident I'd seen it already, but just forgotten to list it, I set off at lunch time towards the Rugby pitches where Niall had said he saw them nesting last year.
Living in the city, you take the presence of Feral pigeons as a given, but move out of the city and they actually become quite scarce.
I met Billy on my walk, and think he was quite amused when having told him in the past where I'd seen a Water Rail, Kingfisher and Teal, I told him I was heading off looking for a feral pigeon, nevertheless, he joined me. So there we both were, me with my binocs and him with his expensive camera and lens, looking for everyone's favourite flying rat.
By the end of lunchtime, believe it or not, neither of us could find one. 'They're sometimes on top of the library building' said Billy, but I had to get back to work, so couldn't keep looking. Stubbornness is a quality I've been gifted with :o) so after work I headed over to the library building and scanned the roof.
Apologies for image quality, these were taken with my pocket camera.

Hopeful looking grey blob on top of ucd library building

Hopeful looking grey blob is indeed a Feral pigeon (although I did wonder if this one was a Stock Dove?)

So I took the lift up to take a closer look

View over UCD's Arts Bldg. It really is a lot of 1970's concrete isn't it.

4 Feral pigeons on top of ucd's Arts Bldg

White patches usually diagnostic of a Feral Pigeon

Time to stop looking at grey birds, sitting on grey concrete under a grey sky and head home!
I didn't manage to tell if there were any Stock doves with the Feral Pigeons - would this be possible? Or would the Stock Doves not be seen dead with it's feral relations? Do ALL feral pigeons have white patches, because I'm guessing the 'Stock Dove' I thought I saw was a feral pigeon without any white patch on the rump.... time will tell.