I took a chance of heading back out to Otter Slough CA this evening after work . . . in hopes of something better than the summer residents . . . well, I guess these may be normal residents also . . . just a bit more "hidden" from the public eye as the others.

While at Otter Slough CA, I ran into a local couple that began birding this past winter. I mentioned to them that I had seen some Black Terns on the west side of Otter Slough and we drove to the area. The Black Terns had left the area, but the Great Egrets and GB Herons were staging in the privately owned marsh prior to heading off to roost for the night.

We were standing surveying and talking, all the while I was watching the birds fly from over Otter Slough's treetops when I see four tightly flying birds headed our way. These didn't have the loose, individual flight patterns as the Great Egrets did that I had been watching. They sort of reminded me of the Blue Angel's "Quad Diamond" formation.

There was a darker shimmering effect to their wing beat also. I hadn't raised my bins yet, as the couple were talking with and asking questions, and I didn't want to be rude. Well, I couldn't wait any longer when they were close enough to make out a looong bill protruding.

I glassed and immediately recognized them as White Ibis. I followed them as they flew all the way to the back of the field, and as luck would have it, behind a group of Great Egrets.

We were able to scope them from the distance of nearly 300-350 yards; however, the light was faltering but not the heat shimmer that was distorting details. Before too much time passed, it began to snow white . . . . Great Egrets were "materializing" from the sky - much the same way the flocks Snow Geese come in to land, in a massive vortex as if being sucked into the Earth.

I guess after discussing for several minutes which one of them had eaten the most frogs, the largest frog and or any other delicacy that one might be able to one-up the rest, the flock of Great Egrets, GB Herons and the four imm. White Ibises took to wing heading back over Otter Slough CA - destination, bed time! This gave us a great looks at their contrast to the Great Egrets while in flight.

What luck! What a magical evening! It was fun listening to Carol's and Gene's excitement-filled comments as the Egrets were drifting down into the pool like snow flakes to the Earth.

Good Birding All!

Chris Barrigar
Stoddard Co.
[log in to unmask]
[log in to unmask]

The New Busy think 9 to 5 is a cute idea. Combine multiple calendars with Hotmail. Get busy.
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Fall Meeting: September 24-26 at Camp Clover Point