Last Sunday Cameron and Boris picked me up from home and brought me along on a hunt for a Mourning Dove that had shown up at the Gabbs house on the Atlin Road. Ken and Sandra Gabbs seem to be living in a rarity hotspot; just last spring Cameron and I travelled there to successfully twitch a Yellow-headed Blackbird. Their property is beautiful – grassy fields open up the area, which is right on the wildlife-rich shores of Atlin Lake. Their horses were out and standing stock still, watching us very cautiously and with great interest.
They told us that the rare Yukon dove had been hanging out inside their shed, but was there less frequently than it had been at first. The shed is an old, open-concept type structure, with the bottom half walled and the top half open. As Cameron carefully approached the entrance, the dove flushed from a hiding spot inside and perched momentarily on the wall before flying off to the forest edge. Another ‘tick’ on the Yukon checklist for both Boris and I! Also hanging around was an unexpected flock of three very late Eurasian Starlings.
We were also keeping an eye out for a ‘mystery bird’ the Gabbs had seen and photo documented a couple of days earlier. Ideas such as meadowlark and starling were tossed around with reference to the photo, but as Cameron said, “You can’t confidently tell what it is, only what it’s not”. And so the mystery bird remained a mystery bird! It was a fun and interesting challenge.