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Nature Photography - Done Naturally

White-faced Ibis

Photo of the Week (April 16th, 2017)

(archive photos of the week here)

An actual, current photo for the photo of the week!  A rarity lately, given the travel I've been doing and other obligations.  I took some time Saturday to bird, staying mostly around Sioux Falls.  It's the time of year when migration starts to get really interesting!  Yes, there have been plenty of waterfowl moving through for the past month, but it's not until mid-April that you start to see shorebirds and more of the passerines starting to show up. You never know what you might come across this time of year!

This find certainly follows that theme.  I was driving on a gravel road west of Sioux Falls, came over a hill, and in a wet field in the distance I saw a number of large, dark shapes. I had no idea what they were from a distance, but as I got closer, it was one of those sightings where I first kind of did a double-take. White-faced Ibis aren't a species I see all that often, certainly not every year. They're a not very common migrant in my part of South Dakota, although there are small numbers of nesting Ibis in the northeast corner of the state. There were 19 of them foraging in this muddy field, along with some American Avocets and a few other shorebirds.  It was gloomy and gray at the time of the photo, but in this case it worked to my advantage.  They're such dark birds, and many times when I've gotten photos of White-faced Ibis, the beautiful plumage colors haven't been very apparent.  The soft, muted lighting and the contrast with the light, reflective water really helps to show the plumage on these beautiful, yet somewhat strange looking birds.

White-faced Ibis - Plegadis chihi

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