Spring is indeed in the air in Northern Florida. March is just around the corner. Will it blow in like a lion or arrive on the gentle breeze like a lamb? The Eaglets that hatched in late December are now fledging and will soon take wing. I am hoping to capture some of these moments as I watch the river. This week the Editor pulls into the drive and calls me on the phone and says “Quick, grab your camera and get out here.” All I could think of was “why?” but did not hesitate as I check my settings and head out the door.
Across the street a few houses down is a flock of over a hundred immature White Ibis feeding in the grass on one of the neighbor’s lawns. I introduced you to these birds back in October of last year (see Second Chances blog). Not wanting to spook them, I tell the Editor to get in the car and we will slowly drive by. Birds often ignore passing vehicles and it provides a great opportunity for photographs out of the car window. My doohickey clicks away as we slowly drive by the flock. The neighbors are standing in the drive and exclaim, "we have been here over 30 years and have never seen anything like this". Why are they suddenly here? Friends and neighbors call and report sightings of Ibis all over the neighborhood over the course of the week.
The “Sacred Bird of the Nile”, the White Ibis, is commonly found in the Americas from Venezuela and on up the Eastern seaboard of the US and Gulf of Mexico. They are not often sighted north of the Carolinas though. I see them fly over the river going “somewhere” but rarely see them land. So why did they choose now to invade the neighborhood? It looks like a bird version of a “flash mob” event in the subdivision. I call it a “Feather Mob”. I later approach them on foot as they continue to feed. A lawn care truck slows down as a small flock works from yard to yard, first on this side of the street then crossing to the other. So just why did the Ibis cross the road? A) To avoid the truck? B) To get to the other side? C) Because the light was green? D) None of the above.
I make some framed photos of the event and share them with the neighbors as a memento of our 2014 Invasion of the Ibis. I also send some to the local newspaper. Everyone it seems today is on social media and this is perhaps just a Feather Mob event. As to “Why did the Ibis cross the road?” I will let you ponder that one. But I know the true answer in my heart I believe. Just so I could share these photos with you! Ibye for now. Be Blessed. Harry