On my final trip around the Black Point Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island NWR
near Titusville, Florida, I was standing along the road with a few friends at sunset when a passing bald eagle scared every bird nearby into the air. Nearest us was a flock of white ibis. These birds burst into the air from an impoundment to our east, flapping frantically past us, headed west into the sunset. I tracked them with my camera and took about 25 photos of the flock as it wheeled left and right.
Then the birds were gone, disappearing over the trees on the western horizon.
Here are the highlight images of those few moments when the ibises were in the air.
The white ibis flock as it took off—the low light turned the fast-moving birds into blurry figures. Turning to head northwest, the white birds took on the pink of the sunset. Just enough light to discern some detail. Well above the bright western horizon, but a hint of the sun's color comes through the ibises' primaries. Turning back from north to west. To my eye these scimitar shapes look more like skimmers or bulbats than ibises. Dropping lower on the horizon now, against a tangerine sky. The requisite palm tree helps us know this is Florida.. The flock changes its collective mind and wheels northward again. Every child has drawn the M-shaped birds in pictures created with lots of sky space. Now I know why. My camera loved the palms as much as my eyes did. Birds are still passing. The final frame. Lead birds are setting their wings to land.
Labels: bird photography, Birding in Florida, Merritt Island NWR, Space Coast Birding Festival