Posts Tagged ‘Glossy Ibis


Let’s just Gloss over that

When Bob told me he’d been photographing Glossy Ibis he said it was possible to get close. He talked in terms of the width of a living room. I was intrigued. I though it was worth investigating. He drew me a map. I needed it. The route to the bird was convoluted over rough ground and not at all easy carrying a 400mm 2.8 prime lens.

His directions were spot on. I no sooner arrived at the site and the bird was right where he said it would be. However, I couldn’t get close. The bird spooked at over 60m. Passing kayakers, dog walkers and nearby kite flyers were flushing the bird and it wouldn’t settle in my presence. I sat down, had a drink of water, and thought the situation through.

I zipped up my jacket so the white t shirt I was wearing wasn’t on show, walked away from the bird, around it, and approached with the light behind me so the sun wouldn’t flash on the lens. This paid dividends and thankfully the ‘motorway’ of morning dog walkers abated, the kayakers disappeared and the kite flyers got called in for lunch.

Reeds and vegetation were always an issue, but as I crouched on the river bank the bird made it’s way slowly to me. The light was excellent. For what is superficially a dull brown bird Glossy Ibis have a wonderfully coloured plumage.


Hardly Glossy

Having had a kidney stone removed the other week I was a bit sore. I was without doubt doing the ‘man thing’ of feeling a bit sorry for myself; although I was determined to get out and about as soon as I could. Just hate being confined to barracks.

I’d seen fly-by Glossy Ibis locally last year but I was still keen to see the one that had arrived recently at Felbrigg. So  on Tuesday I made the slow hobble down to the lake.

When I was showing Sharon the photos she remarked glibly ‘hardly glossy’. Well I guess not. This juvenile has yet to make the transition into the splendour of adult plumage … but I thought it was worth the effort.

2015 11 17 Glossy Ibis Felbrigg Norfolk_Z5A4041



A done deal with a Gloss finish

Sometimes I get asked by people to put a name to a bird they have seen … not always as easy as it seems. The other day however it was a done deal. As I picked up my guests in some very foggy weather for their tour on Tuesday they stated that earlier in their holiday they had seen a bird  feeding in the pasture opposite their cottage which they couldn’t identify. After a brief description it became apparent what they had seen. Something that was like a large dark Curlew but wasn’t in their British Bird book led me to proclaim Philippa and Robert had seen a Glossy Ibis. One had been seen in flight nearby over Martham on a couple of occasions earlier in the week.

I received a text the following day from Philippa to say two Glossy Ibis were now feeding in the field opposite their cottage. Today we called in to see the duo and they were showing very well indeed. I would suspect given their size difference they were a pair. The males are generally larger than females.

Nice to see … plus the ringtail Hen Harrier, six Marsh Harriers, two Green Sandpipers and a Barn Owl at the same site.

2014 01 24 Glossy Ibis Martham Norfolk_Z5A6330


Black Curlews

Black Curlew is an old English name that refers to the Glossy Ibis. It is the use of this name in old texts that lead us to believe this bird once bred on these shores during ancient times.

As far as I’m aware Glossy Ibes (the plural never sounds right) are not currently breeding in Britain but there are certainly a lot around; scattered across the country in singles and small groups. This is usual of late. The species is prone to late winter wanderings and a few landing on our doorstep from time to time is to be expected. It is a bird more at home in the warmer climate of the Mediterranean. In 1993 a regular breeding pair took hold in Spain but by 2007 the population in the Iberian Peninsula had increased to 3777 pairs. In the Camargue the breeding has risen from 14 pairs in 2006 to 478 in 2010. Despite numbers globally decreasing, in Western Europe numbers appear to be on the up!

The first breeding record for France outside the Camargue took place in 2011 just outside Nantes … just 300 miles from the British Coastline.

As we watched a Glossy Ibis feeding in the flooded grazing meadows in the Glaven Valley here in Norfolk the day before yesterday I couldn’t help wondering how long it would be before Black Curlews once again became a regular backdrop to our countryside.

Glossy Ibis


Icing on the cake

There I was, stood on the cliff top looking longingly west.

The pager went off late morning to say four Glossy Ibis (or should it be ibis’s or ibides or even ibes? Mmm doesn’t sound right … let’s stick with Ibis) … four Glossy Ibis were flying east along the coast at Hunstanton. Then Titchwell, then Stiffkey. I was on the cliff top at Trimingham. They were definitely heading my way.

Next message: past Cley. I phoned Trevor. He was elated, 300 up for his garden … what a list. He said they were still heading east just offshore when he’d seen them from outside his back door. The next pager message said they had just past Beeston Bump; the next, West Runton. I stared hard into the distance. The phone went off. It was Ben. They had just passed Cromer Pier. Thank you Ben. I strained my eyes. They must be visible now… surely. Here they are! No … four Teal. Time never dragged so slow. I must have missed them. Maybe they had flown North or maybe they had decided to cut inland. Then … beating wings, just above the sea, here they are relentlessly heading east; Holland bound. I smiled to myself. Four Glossy Ibis … in the bag! … and what was this; a Short Eared Owl in off the sea. Almost over my shoulder and pitched into the plantation. That had to be the icing on the cake.

2013 10 18 Glossy Ibis Trimingham Norfolk_Z5A5501

Not the best photos I’ve ever taken but I hope they convey the moment.

2013 10 18 Short eared Owl Trimingham Norfolk_Z5A5579


Glossing Over

It’s wouldn’t be my choice for a spring break. Far too close to Cantley beet factory for me; but four Glossy Ibis thought the flood meadows there had the edge on the marshes of southern Spain.

There has been a ritual played out each March over the last few years for Spanish Glossy Ibis (or should that be Ibis’s, or maybe even Ibi) to move north into the UK. From Kent to Northumberland parties of these overgrown Curlews have been on tour. The four birds shifting around the Yare Valley made temporary home on a flooded field on Saturday. Very jumpy indeed they would not tolerate close approach and given the gloomy skies laden with rain during the morning photography was difficult … but we managed a few shots.

One individual was sporting Vardic jewellery.

Click to enlarge the following photo.

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Mar 2023


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