The snows have returned to London. So much for spring!
I was surprised when I looked out of the window at the feeding station this morning. Amongst the Woodpigeons and Common Pigeons was a bird which looked smaller and sleeker. Grabbing the binoculars I was pleased to see what looked like a Stock Dove. Then my brain told me to be careful. Although Stock doves are being seen more frequently in London, there are some Common Pigeons that have similar markings. So I carefully went through all the differing identification points and they all fit and it did look like a much slimmer and elegant bird compared to the others. Convinced that this was a first record for the Garden and possibly the local patch I rushed off to get the camera, but the time I returned it had gone. Checking my records I had seen one locally before, although that was just flying over, interestingly that it was in late March last year.
The Stock Dove is probably the rarest of our common species of pigeons. It is estimated however that 50% of the total population live in the UK and so it has quite a high conservation status. It was traditionally a bird of woodland and farmland but as these habitats have been diminished, both in quality and quantity, it has moved into our towns and cities. Traditionally it builds its nest in holes in trees but has now been recorded using other cavities such as in buildings.