White-faced Ibis on the prairies
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/8000th of a second at f/4.0 on ISO 800
After spending time with the Avocets on the northwest corner of Frank Lake, I turned my attention skyward and watched for the White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) who fly between the spots they like to fish and their nests in the tall reeds near the viewing cabin. The feathers on both sides of their wings shimmer when caught by sunlight and they have the long, down-curved bills inherent to the Ibis family of birds. I find them to be as beautiful as they are striking and unusual.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/4000th of a second at f/5.6 on ISO 2500
I had only seen them from a distance previously as their nests are far from the shoreline that is accessible (I’ve heard of some people stalking through the reeds towards these nests but that’s nothing I’m interested in doing given the potential for damage and disruption) and they were staying close to them on my last visit. This time around, there were several of these iridescent birds in flight overhead at any given moment.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens + 1.4X extender: 1/6400th of a second at f/6.3 on ISO 3200
I set up near a small pond separated from the lake by reeds and grasses and had great opportunities to photograph these birds flying. In addition to being along the flight path of the Ibis, Double-crested Cormorants and Black-crowned Night-Herons were frequently seen highlight species.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/8000th of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600
I saw a few Ibis carrying grasses and reeds as they flew towards the nesting area. Presumably, constant maintenance is required to keep the nest in good repair. I photographed one of these deliveries when the Ibis below flew relatively close by.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens + 1.4X extender: 1/2000th of a second at f/6.3 on ISO 2500
After hanging out by the pond for a half an hour, a couple of shorebirds landed in the shallow water nearby. They flitted about and were joined by a few others at one point. The evening light was beautiful and I was very happy to have these little fellows to photograph against the bold patterns created by the stalks along the far side of the pond. About an hour later, I was really excited when two Ibis flew in and landed.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens + 1.4X extender: 1/250th of a second at f/8 on ISO 3200
They set to fishing right away and ended up staying for only five minutes or so. I’m not sure if they didn’t notice me when they flew in and when they did they took off. Or, they just decided to fish elsewhere. Whatever the case, it was really great to see them in another part of their environment.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens + 1.4X extender: 1/1000th of a second at f/11 on ISO 3200
The little shorebirds came out from the reeds they had slipped into when the much larger Ibis came in. I spent the rest of the daylight photographing them, particularly the Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) below, as they carried out their hunting duties before night took over.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens + 1.4X extender: 1/1600th of a second at f/6.3 on ISO 4000