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A Stock Dove in Iceland

A Stock Dove Columba oenas was discovered by Bj÷rn Arnarson at the farm Hali in Su­ursveit (SE-Iceland) on 21 November 2003, and it was still present there on the 23rd. The bird has usually been rather calm, allowing birders to approach it down to 40 m, although wary. It hangs around the farms, and seems to be finding plenty of food on the ground.

It is interesting to note that Iceland's first-ever Stock Dove was found by the same observer on 20-22 April 2003, at this same location ! That bird was extremely shy, and was ususally flushed up at a distance of 100-200 m, and a few record shots were captured. Several Common Wood Pigeons C. palumbus were found at the same time during last spring, while an influx of 17 individuals has been recorded this November. Unusually many eastern vagrants have showed up this November (including the seventh Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla for Iceland), which was actually also the case in April !

Some have brought up the question, whether this latest bird could be the same as the one observed last spring as there were some reports of an unidentified dove in the neighbourhood during the summer. That will probably remain a mystery, although it is interesting to note the moult of the most recent bird. All flight feathers seem to be newly moulted, with only the longest primaries being unmoulted (which are brownish). It seems that the tertials are also undergoing a moult. It should be possible to determine the age of this bird, according to the moult. Anyone having experience with the moult of Stock Doves is encouraged to send comments to Yann (yannk@hi.is) ! This is therefor Iceland's first or second-ever Stock Dove ! Photos below show the bird as well as the finding place. - YK/23.11.2003

- click on the photos to enlarge -

Stock Dove Columba oenas
Hali, Su­ursveit (SE)
22 November 2003

© Bj÷rn Arnarson

Stock Dove Columba oenas
Hali, Su­ursveit (SE)
22 November 2003

© Yann Kolbeinsson

The farm Hali where the dove has stayed, it was found
below the dark grey building.

22 November 2003

© Yann Kolbeinsson

View to the west from Hali at sunrise over the highest peak in Iceland, Hvannadalshnj˙kur (2119 m) which is part of the glacier Vatnaj÷kull.

22 November 2003

© Yann Kolbeinsson