Tuesday, 26 August 2014

White Ibis in Napanee!

This morning I got a text message from Mark Read, who collects bird sightings for the Kingston Study Area on behalf of the Kingston Field Naturalists. It had details that a juvenile White Ibis had been seen in Napanee. Re-reading the text now it alludes to the fact that I was expected to already have known about this bird and once I got home and checked the Ontbirds archive I see why - Terry Sprague had reported the details first thing this morning. For some reason his Ontbirds post never made it to my inbox (and not even into my spam folder...strange, but luckily Mark sent me the text...).

Anyways, I jumped in my car and made it to the spot where it had been reported and there it was!
juvenile White Ibis in Napanee, Lennox and Addington
Here's my post to Ontbirds:
Jeff Haffner found a young White Ibis this morning at 7 am in Napanee. I arrived at 935 and found it in roughly the same location. However, while I had my glasses off trying to get a phonescoped photo it disappeared. I didn't see it move but when I couldnt find it in my scope and put my glasses on I couldn't see it. I wasn't looking down for long so I don't think it flew but rather walked around a bend in the creek and out of sight. I did manage a couple photos that I will post on my blog when I get home.
Directions. Get off the 401 at exit 579 and go south to Jim Kimmet blvd and turn right (west). Just before the Wal-mart there is a bridge over the creek. Park before the bridge but be sure not to block the fire hydrant. The bird was north of the bridge in the creek before the bend.
Will post if I can refind it.
I should clarify that it wasn't Jeff Haffner who originally found it. Apparently (according to Terry Sprague) it was Robert Lane who found it on SUNDAY (24 August). I'm kind of glad that I didn't see Terry's post though since it sounded from his message like the bird had disappeared and I might have waited until someone re-found it.

White Ibis is a really great bird in Ontario, with just five previous records accepted by the Ontario Bird Records Committee. And of those, only one of them stayed in one place for more than a day. Here are the previous records as published by the OBRC:

  1. 1, juvenal, 27 September 1970, Point Pelee National Park, Essex. Found by Joseph P. Kleiman, T. Dennis Coskren, Dennis F. Rupert, Alfred H. Rider, Jeffrey A. Greenhouse, William W. Smith, Norm Chesterfield, Ray Knight
  2. 1, second-year, 12-30 (but only seen 12-14 and 29-30) October 1990, Turkey Point, Norfolk. Found by John Lamey
  3. 1, 27 June 1998, Pelee Island, Essex. Found by Ethan J. Meleg, David Hodare
  4. 1, juvenal, 3-6 October 2009, Whitby (3 October), Durham and Prince Edward Point (6 October), Prince Edward. Found by Harvey Gold, Daniel S. Kaczynski, Karl Jennewein
  5. 2, first alternate, 11 May 2012, Long Point (Old Cut), Norfolk. Found by Stuart A. Mackenzie, Fanny Senez-Gagnon

Anyone who has traveled to the US southeast knows that White Ibis are abundant there, so it's always a bit surprising to me that we don't get more of them here, especially given the propensity for northward post-breeding dispersal by herons in general. It seems likely that this bird made its way north on the same system in the last week or so that has brought at least 2 Snowy Egrets, a Eurasian Collared-Dove, a Violet-green Swallow, and an Ash-throated Flycatcher to southern Ontario (not to mention the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron that's still around). What else it lurking out there to find?

Here's my favourite shot of a White Ibis (this is an adult) from a trip to Florida several years ago. I'm still blown away by it!
White Ibis in Kissimee, Florida


  1. wow! I think Ontbirds is broken or something - I can't find any of the posts from today... Congrats on getting it

  2. Yep, I think you're right. A bunch of other people have suggested the same thing...I've emailed Mark Cranford to give him a heads up.

  3. Glad it's fixed now! I guess it didn't return to view while you were there? Kinda jealous...

  4. Ya, looks like it is working now...it didn't return while I was there (another 20 minutes or so) and I tried unsuccessfully to get another view of the creek. It looked like I would have had to walk right up to the edge to see around the corner and I didn't want to risk flushing it if it was there....

  5. Glad you got it Mike - fantastic bird! Now if only this one bucks the trend and shows up again...

  6. Nice shot Mike! Fingers crossed it sticks around til Friday...probably not but you never know!

    1. Thanks Nathan. I put that second shot of the adult in just for you. If you're around this weekend let me know.

  7. Haha you know me so well! Im just going to be there for Friday evening then Im headin up to Algonquin for the long weekend for a short canoe trip.