White-faced Ibis at Yolo Basin Wildlife Area photos by Larry Jordan
Last month when I visited the Yolo Basin (Vic Fazio) Wildlife Area it was yet to be flooded. This last weekend, heading down to the bay area for the California Burrowing Owl Consortium meeting, I checked with the Department of Fish and Game and found that they had begun flooding the refuge.
Dave Feliz, the wildlife area manager, mentioned that part of the wetlands, East of the auto tour route, were flooded rice fields where he had seen quite a few birds recently. He told me where to park to walk the closed road out to the fields. That is where I found hundreds of White-faced Ibis and Snowy Egrets foraging, preening and relaxing in the shallow waters and atop the surrounding berms.
These beautiful iridescent wading birds travel the Pacific Flyway to and from their breeding grounds, seeking isolated reservoirs and irrigated fields as feeding and resting sites. Here is a distribution map for the White-faced Ibis courtesy of Birds of North America Online.
It must have been a good breeding season for the White-faced Ibis in the west because, like I said, there were hundreds of adults and hundreds of juveniles gathered in the flooded fields. Here you can see the juvenile on the left, still with the dark eyes and yet to sport the more colorful plumage of the adult on the right with the red iris.
A large number of Snowy Egrets
and several American White Pelicans were also enjoying the bounty.
The only family of birds I noticed in greater numbers were the gulls. I took some in-flight shots with the digiscope set-up just to see what I could get, as the pelicans took off, and most of the other birds along with them.
Going through the photos I spotted what looks like a Caspian Tern flying with the gulls. What do you think?
I enjoyed my time at Yolo Basin Wildlife Area and had a fantastic time at the California Burrowing Owl Consortium meeting (more on the controversy surrounding the California Burrowing Owl in upcoming posts).
In the meantime, here are a couple more shots of American White Pelicans I spotted right next to Interstate 5 on the way home Sunday afternoon. It appeared that they were scooping up fish from a huge pond, separated from the main North-South thoroughfare in California by nothing more than a pasture fence.
I always keep a running link in the right hand sidebar to the “I And The Bird” carnival so you can get a head start on the upcoming edition. You will note after Grant’s edition #134 comes out this Thursday, the next edition will be hosted by yours truly! Get your submissions to me by September 28th for the 135th edition on September 30th!