From time to time the Ibis are amiss on our island, roaming the streets in large flocks, never knocking to announce their presence. You never know when they will arrive but enjoying their behavior when they come to visit is a treat to say the least.
The Ibis that frequent our island is the American White Ibis. This large wading bird is mostly seen in large groups of 30 or 50 members. If you go out on a boat to the out islands during mating season, you can find flocks of 30,000 or more. Normally they hang out in the trees on mangrove islands, but many times they come ashore on our island and walk the streets, going from yard to yard plunging their long beaks into the grass in search of insects.
The Ibis is said to nest in trees, so that explains why you can sometimes see them comically sitting on electric power lines. Talk about a funny site!
Yesterday I noticed a flock of Ibis on my street when I was leaving for a trip into town. In this large flock was a Pink Ibis, a rare bird in these parts. I drove by the flock and said to myself I should go back for my camera, but I was in a hurry to get my errands done, so I drove on. Five miles down the road I realized I forgot paperwork which was my main reason to go into town, so I beat it back to the house and this time took the camera. Well, wouldn't you know it, the flock was now nowhere to be found, so I continued on with my mission and left the island for several hours. Funny thing, I kept thinking about that Pink Ibis all day.
On my return to the island I stopped at a friends house a few streets from mine. Wouldn't you know it, the flock was on her street! I stopped the car in the middle of the road, grabbed my camera and proceeded to follow the birds from yard to yard trying to get a picture of beautiful Pink Ibis.
Trying to get a good picture of the Ibis is not easy, they move constantly, plunking their long beaks into the grass and soil looking for lunch. I took out my long lens so I could get a close up of the Pink Ibis, without much luck. The birds knew I was following them and kept a sold 75 foot distance from me. I took a step forward, they took a step back. Anyway, I took a bunch of pictures and went back to my car, pulling in my friends house for a visit.
After about a half hour visiting I decided to try for another shot at getting a close up of the Pink Ibis. Same problem, they kept moving away from me! As you can see from the pictures here, I didn't have a lot of luck and it was close to sunset so the pictures are dark, but I did get one good picture of the pink one.
Maybe next time I will climb in a tree and wait to ambush the flock and get a picture of the Amiss Ibis.
I did a little research on the Pink Ibis and came up empty. Normally the juvenile Ibis are brown not pink, I wonder where this guy came from. I wonder if he is special in his flock or an outcast? He seemed to be right in there with the rest of the flock, so maybe they don't know he is very special. There is a species of Ibis that is a brilliant hot pink, but not the same as the American White Ibis living here. Ibis do congregate with the pink Roseate Spoonbill and Woodstorks—could this Pink Ibis be crossbred with the Spoonbill?
After I posted this story our resident island photographer posted pictures of the Pink Ibis on our island Email newsletter. He said he had not seen the birds since last October. He noted that last year the Pink Ibis was still immature as evidenced by it's coloring which has now transformed into all pink. He seems to think the Pink Ibis has special status because it seems to always have body guards around it.