August 3, 2006
Several local bird watchers have reported seeing a Glossy ibis at a farm pond in recent days, the first one ever seen in Rockingham County. It seems that whenever such a rare bird is reported (Sandhill crane, Harris' sparrow), I get there too late, but this morning (hot!) I lucked out. As soon as I stopped my car, I could see the Glossy ibis in plain view. The long bill and green feathers quickly established the identity. [Correction: I thought this was a life bird, but Jacqueline and I had already seen one at Chincoteague in 1999.]
A Sora was also reported at the same pond, but I didn't see it. I did hear some strange calls in the reeds, however, so perhaps it was hiding in there. Today's list:
Glossy ibises breed along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts as far north as Maine, and then some of them head inland to forage for a month or so before returning south for the winter. Question: Will the planned large-scale industrial development of the Weyer's Cave area, just a few miles south of this spot, deter such migratory wonders from visiting the Shenandoah Valley?