[Ontbirds]White-faced Ibis at Long Point

Ron Ridout rridout at bsc-eoc.org
Mon Oct 2 20:57:19 EDT 2006

This afternoon at around 3 pm. Steve Wilcox discovered a flock of 11
plegadis ibis along the A concession just east of the hamlet of
Erieview.  Always eager to get away from the tedium of the computer
screen, Jody Allair, Fergus Nicoll and I dropped things at the office
and drove out to see them for ourselves.  The birds were still there
feeding right beside the gravel road in a wet roadside ditch.  We
watched them for about 20 minutes through our binoculars and telescope
from about 100 yards.  At that distance, all we could tell was that they
were plegadis ibis with a mixture of adults and first-winter birds.
While Jody and Fergus headed back to the office, I retrieved my camera
from home and headed back to attempt to photograph the birds.  When I
arrived just after 4 pm., the birds were still in the ditch.
Approaching slowly, I parked the truck on the opposite side of the road
and waited to see if the birds would wander down the ditch towards me.
Sure enough within 15 minutes they moved towards me, feeding all the way
until all of them passed by me at about 30 feet.
While I was photographing them as they leisurely fed beside me, I
noticed that one of the birds was a rosier gloss with a slightly paler
head.  Looking through the viewfinder of the camera, I could see what
appeared to be a red iris.  While I couldn't be 100% certain of it on
site, after examining the photos closely tonight, the eye is a definite
ruby red and the skin in front of the eye has a pink cast to it.  In
addition, the pale lines that edge the facial skin of the basic plumaged
Glossy Ibis are absent.
I stayed with the birds until about 6 pm. when a passing car flushed
them and they flew back to the edge of a nearby farmyard about 200 feet
off the road.  Steve Wilcox said that when he looked for them at dusk,
they weren't in the ditch though they may have remained nearby or flown
off to roost in the marshes to the south.
To look for these birds, take Highway 59 south towards Long Point.  The
A Concession is the first road on the right south of the 1st Concession
(still about 2 km north of the Long Point causeway).  If you get to the
flashing light at Hwy 59 and Regional Rd. 42, turn around and go back
north one road.  Travel west on the A Concesssion down through the Big
Creek valley and continue west towards the hamlet of Erieview which is
about 1 km. west of Big Creek.  Just before Erieview, you will leave
behind the weedy ditches on both sides of the road and come to a
somewhat neatly mowed roadside ditch filled with water on the north
side.  The Ibis were feeding along this wet portion.
Photos of the birds will be posted soon on the Long Point Sightings
Board http://www.bsc-eoc.org/lpbo/sightings.html

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