With the coming full moon the tides have been higher than normal making my trek to the dock a bit soggy at times. The water has been over the bank all week at high tide. Old Man River, the Great Blue Heron is sitting on the bow of the Jon boat before he spots me and flies over to his other favorite pier to watch the sunrise. I capture some distant shots of the Bald Eagle and a female Northern Harrier flying over the marsh this week also. The white feather patch at the base of the tail identifies the Harrier. After an hour of seeing very few birds this morning I decide to head for the house. As I get to the back porch I turn to scan the marsh and then I spot it.
Walking down the pier towards the neighbor’s fence is a “White” Ibis. These wading birds are fairly common in Florida but not often seen on this part of the Broward. I have seen them fly over in small groups but hardly ever see them land this close to my dock. With a quick about face I head for the fence hoping not to spook it. I crouch low (but not low enough for Jack ;) ) and approach slowly. It takes a quick glance at me and continues poking that long pink beak through the grass looking for insects and crabs. A marsh crab snack is soon in its beak. With a quick flip and swallow, the morsel is soon breakfast. With a quick push of the doohickey it becomes my shot of the day. Following it along the fence I capture a few more moments with this beautiful bird until it hops over the fence looking for yard insects.
Juvenile White Ibis have mottled brown feathers, as do some of the older adults. The pink beak turns scarlet red around the eyes in mating season. The long curved beak is the prominent feature that identifies this bird species. A “pink” variant is also sometimes seen which looks very similar to the White only with pinkish wings. It is a hybrid cross of a White with the South American Scarlet Ibis. On a recent trip to the Viera Wetlands I did capture a photo of a Glossy Ibis. This Ibis species has a dark glossy plumage and white striping near the dark eyes.
If I had not paused to look back I would have missed a great gallery shot opportunity. I wonder how many other shots I may have missed by not taking a second look. Can’t tell you how many birds though I have seen fly by right after I come inside. I was blessed this time though with a second chance. We all have it; I recommend you take it too! Hope you enjoyed it. Be Blessed. Harry