On Sat, 17 Feb 2001, DavidBHarder wrote:

> If all three birds the Athertons saw had white facial markings (i.e., a
> white feather border around the bare face skin), then there are more than
> three White-faced Ibis at St. Marks NWR. The one I scoped from about 50
> yards away in Mounds Pool 1 on 2/15 had no white border at all. Multiple
> birds would also explain the varying descriptions given of the facial skin
> color (bright red behind the eye, dull red in front of the eye, entirely
> pink). My bird wasn't noticably buffier either. Maybe we've got a whole
> flock of them. Yet another western invasion?

First of all, let me add another wrinkle... after talking to several
birders Sunday afternoon who did not find the White-faced Ibis scoping
from the road, and after we found only a few Glossies from the road, we (a
Valdosta group along with Jack Dozier) drove a little farther toward the
lighthouse and hiked the short dike separating Mounds Pools 1 and 2 and
ending in a "T" with a view eastward into Mounds Pool #3.  There we saw
one definite White-eyed Ibis.  Its eye and facial skin were bright red;
there was no white on the face.  It did have the fine white flecks from
the face down the throat depicted in Sibley for the nonbreeding adult.  I
would not describe its coloration as buffy, but then feathers viewed in
bright frontlit sunlight could appear very differently colored than those
viewed through fog.  Interestingly, right alongside it was another dark
ibis whose face, neck, back and wing coloration was *identical* to the
White-faced, except there was no hint of any red in the iris or on the
face. This would match Sibley's depiction of a first-winter White-faced.
This second ibis was also noticeably shorter.  There has been some
discussion on this list that (despite Sibley's numbers) Glossy Ibis
actually appears larger (taller).  I suspect, though, that sexual size
dimorphism may be at least as great as any size difference between these
two similar species.

One last thing that confuses me: one or more of the earlier observers who
have posted on the bird(s) mentioned red color "behind" the eye.  I'm
assuming that was a typo or a misstatement, as the red skin is in front of
the eye.

Brad Bergstrom, Ph.D., Professor           TEL  912-333-5770 /-5759
Department of Biology                      FAX  912-333-7389
Valdosta State University                  e-mail: [log in to unmask]
Valdosta, GA 31698-0015                    Home: 912-333-0743
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