Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Metzger Marsh White-faced Ibis, Laughing Gull 5/29

This spring there have been numerous reports of Glossy Ibises around the state, but I'm also aware of a couple of reports of White-faced Ibis, including one at Metzger Marsh on April 26 and one in the Killbuck Marsh area on May 11. This evening (Tuesday May 29) I found one White-faced and one Glossy Ibis at Metzger Marsh, n.w. Ohio. The two birds were foraging together along the edge of the extensive flats south of the dike that runs east from the parking lot at the end of the road. Like most of the other birds present, the ibises were some distance away from the dike. Through the telescope it was easy to see the Glossy's dark slaty facial skin with narrow border of pale blue skin, and the White-faced Ibis's red facial skin with a smeary surrounding area of white feathers. Without a scope, though, it would have been impossible to identify these two birds with certainty. Glossy Ibis has been recorded far more often in Ohio than White-faced, but clearly we can't just assume that dark ibises are Glossies unless they're seen well enough to prove that identification.

Also at Metzger this evening was an adult Laughing Gull. It was resting on the edge of the flats with a group that included about 50 Ring-billed Gulls (mostly subadults), 20 Herring Gulls (all adults), 35 Common Terns, 7 Forster's Terns, 2 Black Terns, and 3 Caspian Terns. Those are maximum counts for each, because there was continuous turnover in the birds present. Turnover seems to be a constant at Metzger right now. This evening I saw only three Black-bellied Plovers (but Kim and I had seen 64 there yesterday) and no Red Knots (five yesterday). Numbers of Ruddy Turnstones and Dunlins also had dropped substantially, but this evening I had one Sanderling, three Least Sandpipers, and two White-rumped Sandpipers, all missed yesterday.

Clearly, Metzger is worth a look for anyone birding the area over the next couple of weeks, but do bring a telescope if you can.

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