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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ibis trifecta at Forsythe NWR

White-faced Ibis
     Today I visited Edwin Forsythe NRW in the hopes of finding the White-faced Ibis that has been present for at least two weeks. Dave Eberly and I tried for this bird on July 15th and had no luck although we did have a large flock of about 100 Glossy Ibis. Our timing was bad as we went in the late afternoon and had to battle for a view of the birds as they were all backlit. We were at least rewarded with a nice view of a Hudsonian Godwit.
     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.

       Also here are a couple of Dragonfly photos that I need identified. Does anyone know if these are male and female Great Blue Skimmer?

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