Upon arrival at 7:45, I decided to make a quick pass around the refuge to the NW corner of the west pool where the ibis has been reported. The initial pass through the refuge produced many shorebirds and terns but I only located four Glossy Ibis, which quickly dampened my hopes. So on my second pass, I decided to go slowly and watch for other birds in hopes that by the time I arrived back to the NW corner that the ibises would increase in numbers. I drove the road to Gull Pond and climbed the observation tower and who is standing on top but Edie Purnum (BCDC Member) and Mike Rosengarten. They were watching four Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, which would have been a state bird for me had I not just found one in Cape May about three weeks earlier.
|Gull-billed Tern at Forsythe NWR|
|Whimbrel and American Oystercatcher|
Other birds of interest were fifty Whimbrels, a Stilt Sandpiper, one Long-billed Dowitcher, lots of Gull-billed Terns, including youngsters, and many American Oystercatchers. As I rounded the bend and approached the west pool for the second time I noticed a line of cars parked ahead. I got out and set up the scope and was directed to an immature White Ibis feeding among the numerous other shorebirds including Pectoral Sandpipers. That made two ibises for the day. This was my second White Ibis in a little over a week, as I was lucky enough to see the one at John Heinz Refuge. Having now seen two thirds of my hoped for trifecta, I scoped the other end of the pool and noticed that there was a large flock of ibis down at the NW corner of the pond. I quickly hopped in the car and headed down.
When I set up the scope and scanned the flock the birds took off. So I waited about five minutes and they started to return. Trying to see the diagnostic red eye was quit the challenge however. Finally I saw a bird that was a possible White-faced Ibis but once again the birds scattered but then landed a little farther out. By this time I had reinforcements from other birders. One gentleman finally spotted a bird with a reddish facial area and got most of us on the bird. Sure enough there it was. All three American ibis at one location. And a new state bird to boot.