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Is it a Glossy Ibis or a White-faced Ibis?

White-eyed Ibis (Texas, April 2017)

The Maine Birding community is all-a-flutter (ha, never get tired of that one) about the White-faced Ibis being seen a Scarborough Marsh near Portland.  The White-faced Ibis normally is found along the Texas Gulf Coast and parts of the western USA.  While it has been sighted occasionally in Scarborough in the past . . . the bird we normally see is the Glossy Ibis . . . a resident of the northeast coast.

Three times I’ve been out to see the White-faced . . . sometimes a few moments after other birders had seen it.  Each report documents a distinctive “White face”.  Now I’m not contending a White-faced Ibis isn’t hanging around Scarborough Marsh somewhere . . . but I think the vast majority of sighting are actually Glossy Ibis . . . which often also have distinctive “White face”.

The best way to distinguish between the two birds is their eye.  The White-face has a red eye and the Glossy has a black.  Other tells:  The White-face can have reddish legs and some red around the eye . . . while these areas on the Glossy tend to gray.

Of course we’ll keep looking for the White-face at Scarborough Marsh . . . there are lots of cool birds to be found there.  But I’m beginning to take the daily sightings with a grain of salt.

While on the subject of cool birds . . . Ingrid and I saw a Little Blue Heron at a distance today . . . bird #266 of the year.

Little Blue Heron (June 2017)

Out list for the year would have been much higher  on Thursday if the weather had cooperated.  We were scheduled to drive to Northern Maine for a lobster boat trip out to Machias Seal Island, about 10 miles off the Maine Coast.  The island has a colony of Atlantic Puffins, Razor Bills, Roseate and Atlantic Terns.  On the ride out Arctic Terns can be seen and a hopelessly lost Red-billed Tropic bird has been seen on the trip the last few years.  We signed up for the excursion in early January.

Sadly the trip was cancelled to heavy rains . . . and Ingrid and I were very disappointed.  Maybe next year.

With migration over, many birds on their second broods . . . we’re not adding a lot of birds to our list but were enjoying photographing nesting warblers.

Herons and Egrets

Fledglings making their first flights

Terns performing acrobatic stunts.

All while listening to the constant song of the Red-eyed Vireo that sings from dawn to dusk


 

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