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Sunday, 23 October 2016

Glossy Ibis - on 13th October, 2016

Thursday was scheduled to be my regular afternoon out with pal, John. I was driving, so it was my turn to choose the venue! I'd already agreed with John that we'd go somewhere neither of us had been to before, which was Brandon Marsh. 

The weather on Thursday morning was dire, with rain for most of the morning, and not much better forecast for the rest of the day. Although it looked reasonable when I picked John up at 12h45, I'd still not got much confidence for a photographic visit where we would be out in the open most of the time. John agreed (perhaps a little reluctantly?) that we'd return to Cossington Meadows, where we'd dipped on the Glossy Ibis on the Monday, and then continue to Brandon Marsh if the weather looked like holding.

Contrary to earlier reports that the bird was on the Swan Meadow area of Cossington Meadows, it seems that someone had confused the designation of the location, and that the bird was being seen on Rectory Marsh. This is where we headed for.

We entered the Rectory Marsh area via the gate at the south-east corner, and immediately spotted the ibis half way along the far side of the lake, at a distance of about 120 metres (measured on Google Earth). The 'safety shot' from the gate was pretty useless, and we headed slowly along the footpath towards the gate at the north-east corner. This shot was taken about 45 metres along the path, with the bird at around 90 metres.

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) - Cossington Meadows
We stopped again after another  40 metres or so, with the bird at around 80 metres.

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) - Cossington Meadows
We then continued for another 30 metres, stopping around 35 metres from the gate, with the bird still at around 80 metres. We could see the bird more clearly from here, but the light was now rather difficult as we were shooting against almost white water.

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) - Cossington Meadows
I think that we would have moved back in the direction we had come from in order to get better light, but the bird suddenly flew. John reckoned that it looked as if it was set to pass straight over our heads, but it suddenly turned, and landed on the water's edge, just around 25 metres directly in front of us! We still had the problem with the adverse light, but it was not quite so difficult at the closer range. The other problem was the vegetation that was now between us and the bird for much of the time. Also, we dare not move for fear of frightening the bird off.

Here's a few from immediately after it landed. You can see that it was quite relaxed. You can also see that it's in winter plumage.

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) - Cossington Meadows
After a while, it started to move around, foraging for food, but never going far from our position. Here's a few more shots - well a lot more actually, as I'm not likely to get another chance like this!

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) - Cossington Meadows
That last image is there because it shows a hint of the glossy green and purple that would have shown better if the sun was on the bird.

For some time we'd seen a couple approaching from the north-west corner of Rectory Marsh. They were carrying a 'scope and headed along the north bank of the water. Several times they checked out the ibis with the 'scope and then moved nearer. Eventually they got within about 15 metres of the bird and - guess what! - they flushed it! Why on earth would you feel the need to do this when you've been looking at it through a 'scope??!! - -and they say that photographers act irresponsibly!

I got some (poor) shots as it flew, and landed on the far side of the water. The second image is there because I'd never before noticed a bird raise its coverts as it landed, rather like an aircraft. Coincidentally, I also saw a heron do this later in the day.

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) - Cossington Meadows
After landing, the bird disappeared into the vegetation and we headed back to the car,  calling a few choice words, as we departed, to the couple who'd flushed the bird.

From here we headed to Brandon Marsh, and had a very enjoyable 'rest of afternoon'.

Thank you for dropping by. I haven't any idea as to what my next post will feature!