Monday, May 6, 2013

Shy ibis

We've had about seventy special visitors to the Centerpointe retention ponds over the past several days.  If you've been lucky enough to see all of them flying together low over your house as they periodically reposition themselves, you might have noticed how unique they are.
Birds of a feather flock together.  This is a portion of the flock that has been visiting daily. 
I'd need to spend about five thousand dollars on a better lens if I were to do these guys justice, because they are very shy and will flee at the slightest intrusion.  But this blurry pic reveals them for what they are:  white-faced ibis.  They are rare among local birds in that they have a decurved bill.  They are perfectly adapted for wading in shallow water and eating whatever small things strike their fancy.   
Late this afternoon, the lighting was perfect, the backdrop (retention ponds vegetation) was perfect, the wind was perfect, but the rest of the environment was not cooperating with my photo venture. 
The pipeline drillers were making a ruckus with their boring operations, this hawk pictured above was screaming from the high-lines in the Inter-urban easement, rush-hour traffic was screaming from West Walker Street, and a guy with a model airplane was buzzing the entire area from the adjacent tract of land.  None of that stuff bode well for bird photography. 
Despite all that pandemonium and a cheap lens to boot, I managed to get a couple of shots just to show you how cool these guys are.
Wonderful iridescent plumage, if you can manage to get close enough to see it. 
Coming in for a landing.  The fact that we've had enough rain to keep our dry ponds wet (too wet to thoroughly mow) is a good thing for local wildlife, because those ponds tend to start functioning like bona fide wetlands in this condition (even though they weren't necessarily intended to fulfill that function... but that's a topic for a future post). These guys were gobbling up some really tasty stuff this afternoon, swallowing as fast as they could forage.
Coincidentally, Houston Chronicle published a piece about our three local ibis species just a few days ago.  I've seen flocks of white ibis previously in our immediate area, but never a group of these white-faced guys until this spring.  Enjoy them while they remain. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'm forced to moderate comments because the spammers have become too much for me to keep up with. If you have a legitimate comment, I will post it promptly. Sorry for the inconvenience.