Monday, July 23, 2012

White-faced Ibis


The Salton Sea and surrounding Imperial Valley are the best place in California to see many species, widespread or not. Although there are no shortage in the Central Valley, I would say the Sea and environs are the best place to see White-faced Ibis. They are striking birds in spring and early summer, with a strange mix of maroons and rust with an impossible rainbow of iridescent glory stretching from wingtip to wingtip.

White-faced Ibis are abundant, and if you have both the skill and the patience you could find a Glossy Ibis with some luck. In case you didn't know, finding a pure-blooded Glossy Ibis in California is an almost automatic advancement up the ranks of the Global Birder Ranking Scale. You don't need to find a Glossy to enjoy slogging through the ibis flocks though.


A typical scene in the Imperial Valley. Scads of ibis.


Like most wading birds, ibis are getting a bit ragged and are molting out of their facemelty breeding colors this time of year. The adults are still pretty snazzy looking, although they are less prone to cause one's pupils to dilate.


This is a giant night roost next to Finney Lake. Thousands were packed in here. So many grunts and quacks coming from this little pond.


Hella ibis.


This is what a bird looks like when it momentarily forgets how to fly.

13 comments:

  1. hehehe that last photo is priceless but I'll pay you 100,000 fake dollars for it nonetheless!

    The iBis is a wicked cool bird, be it Glossy or White-faced, or even White. It makes much more sense that the Egyptians deified them than say, cats.

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    1. "iBis". I'm into it.

      Cat worship cant end soon enough. Not that I dont watch cat videos or anything.

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  2. Who said the Ibis couldn't scratch an itch and fly at the same time. I've seen the Glossies out in full force here recently; they must be anticipating your arrival.

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    1. I haven't seen Glossies in a loooooonnnnnnnggggg time...Im ready for them!

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  3. Who can resist impossible rainbows of iridescent glory??

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    1. more people than you care to know, FJ (Flycatcher Jen, not Felonious Jive).

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  4. The Ibis colony at the missed Tulare Black-bellied Whistling Duck site was a new experience for me and provided some birding solis. It was crazy, birds commuting in and out, in lines, singles, calling etc. It was like a busy London train station.

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    1. Sounds cool Rob, Ive never been to an active colony. Glad the BBWD chase was somewhat worthwhile.

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  5. It's funny. Here in central Florida we get glossys all the time. We recently had one rare white faced and the crowds were out in full force to see it.

    It does look like he's scratching an itch while flying. Cute!

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    1. Mmmmmmm....glossy goodness. They are very rare in CA, I though I found one once but it flew off before I could confirm it. Life was pain.

      It was totally scratching an itch.

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  6. There was a report of two Glossies here in my area of Utah last week but I didn't see them because I was up in Montana seeing hundreds of White-faced Ibis!

    Love that last photo!

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