Monday, May 04, 2015

Baytown: Spoonbills and Ibis

After the frustrations of trying to spot and photograph migrants over the past couple of weeks, I decided to head to Baytown Nature Center on Sunday morning. There are usually plenty of birds at the site and many of them are close enough to the road to be easily photographed.

As soon as I reached the first pond, I knew it was going to be a good day for wading birds. A score or more White Ibis were fishing alongside a Roseate Spoonbill and Snowy Egrets, while Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were lurking in the background.

The next wetland area had a dozen Roseate Spoonbills.

Spoonbills fish by dipping part of their bill in the water and sweeping it from side to side.

One of the Spoonbills was more concerned with preening than finding breakfast.

I would expect that Spoonbills would object to sharing their fishing area with White Ibis. However, the two species seemed content to fish the same patch of water. 

Perhaps one reason they are not territorial in these situations is that they have different prey species in their sights. Or it may be that they fish at different depths, since White Ibis plunge their whole bills into the water while the Spoonbills seem to search closer to the water's surface.

While I walked the main loop trail later during my visit, White Ibis seem to pass overhead every couple of minutes. I must have seen at least 60 or 70 on my walk. 

While the Spoonbills and Ibis were a joy to watch, I was also hoping that Baytown would produce a good range of other species. As you'll see in my next post, I wasn't disappointed.

1 comment:

Frank said...

A definite improvement in photo opportunities for you Jeff.

I'm still unsuccessfully chasing LBJ's!!