Tuesday, August 23, 2022

White-Faced Ibis

My first post on the white-faced ibis, on September 21, 2014 (but probably seen several years before that) was a solo, indistinct bird feeding near the Rio Grande River in Alamosa Colorado. My second post, on September 8, 2020, was also a solo bird, in poor light and non-breeding plumage, at Tule Lake NWR in northern California, near the Oregon border. So far the white-faced ibis had not elicited any great wonderment from me. That all changed in April 2021 when I was driving through the farming areas southeast of the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley of California, my third post. I saw hundreds of white-faced ibis, many in breeding plumage, the best-siting I'll probably ever see. How can you not love this bird? In July 2021, my fourth post, I found them in the reclamation marshes in Niland, California, near the Salton Sea. They were still colorful, but past the key breeding season, missing the white-face stripe. My fifth post, in August 2021, included photos of scuffling white-faced ibis in a field near the Sonny Bono NWR near Calipatria, California, also near the Salton Sea. They lacked the white-face lines, but still had the beautiful plumage. 

This post, my sixth, with birds in full breeding plumage, has just a few photos from white-faced ibis near the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge near Brigham City, Utah. They were in flooded fields outside of the 12 mile Auto Route Drive on June 2, 2022. What I really appreciate is the white-lined face and the full color in good light. Much of the head, the neck, belly and part of the back are a beautiful chestnut brown. A white line circles the face, surrounding a red eye with a black pupil, and pink bare facial skin. The curved bill is gray. Then the wings and tail feathers go crazy. They have the purple, pink, blue and turquoise found on the inside of an abalone shell. But that's just a piece of it. They also have the beautiful bronze found on some mint coins and bronze pink, bronze green, followed by some pink legs that are drab by comparison. 
I think this front bird is about as pretty as they get. 

This one is very drab by comparison. 

By August 13, 2022, when I was back at Bear River, I encountered the white-faced ibis again, but the breeding magic is wearing off. No white-lined faces and the vivid colors are fading and blending back into the chestnut brown. 

Six posts on one bird may be the most I've done. I hope there may be some more magic I can encounter with this bird which will result in more posts. 

1 comment:

  1. Impressive number of sightings and in lots of different places.