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Glossy Ibis situation

I would like to echo the concerns re: searching for the Glossy Ibis at the Konyn Dairy along Old Milky Way near the Safari Park. I arrived there around 5:40 AM this morning and fairly quickly realized that birds feeding in the area were better viewed from the east side of the dairy–next to the entrance to the San Pasqual Valley soils/mulch facility immediately to the east–rather than from near the main dairy entrance farther to the west. Parking is limited here to a few cars right along the north side of the road's shoulder. There is LOTS of fast-moving traffic here on weekday mornings, both cars and lots of trucks. Under no circumstances can you enter either property. The owner of the mulch facility asked me to move from near their entrance, as he was rightfully worried about all the truck traffic entering and leaving. Two different owners/managers of the dairy approached me, even though I was outside their fence, along the road, expressing concern, as they thought I might be an animal rights activist scoping the cows. This would all be much simpler if the ibis was reliable at the Safari Park (opens at 9AM), but given that we then spent a bit over two hours there later in the morning and missed it, clearly it is not. The Safari Park costs something like $52 to enter, although parking is currently free. The heronry is in the Africa Loop section, where the flamingo colony is, which is a pretty long walk. In addition to the nesting birds scattered about in dense vegetation, there is a major pond there with a muddy dirt spit where groups of ibis come and go to drink, bathe, and preen, and that would be a good place to check for the Glossy. But it is at the absolute limit of ID'ing adults there with one's binoculars–if that–so one would want to have a scope to check it reliably. And, again, it's a long walk from the entrance. Hopefully, if one spent a slug of hours during the day there, with a scope, the Glossy would show up at some point–although who really knows. There was also a summering male Ring-necked Duck and 3 Am. White Pelicans on that pond today.

By the way, the Glossy is a breeding-plumaged adult bird, with lots of chestnut to the body plumage and it has the two light cobalt-blue facial-stripes, a dark (not reddish) eye, grayish legs with pinkish 'knees,' and grayish facial skin. I am not positive whether or not this is the same bird that Nancy got some photos of yesterday inside the Safari Park, flying into the colony, or which Ann Baldwin photo'd there in March 2019. Some folks in looking at the photos thought yesterday's bird MIGHT be transitioning out of full breeding plumage, whereas today's bird showed no such transitioning. But, at this point, this is all just guesswork.

I fist saw the Glossy Ibis briefly at around 6:45, and then, with Nancy, for at least 20-30 minutes starting around 7:20. When the bird departed, it flew off in the direction of the Safari Park. As many as a total of 40 W-f Ibis were feeding at the dairy this morning, in various little groups, and they come and go, but a large majority of them are OUT OF VIEW at all times, blocked by hillsides, equipment, cows, etc. and there is no way to see them until they fly. Most of the birds that one CAN see on the ground are in the rich dirt amongst the cows on the slope you can easily see in front of the covered hay storage "shed" on top of the slope. But only a limited number of people can set their scopes up along the roadside here to scope that area–as the many cars and trucks go wizzing by next to you. With the early-morning overcast, the lighting was good this morning until several of us departed for the Safari Park at 8:45AM, but it deteriorated not too long thereafter with the heat distortion, and studying the finer points of ibis ID then became very difficult to impossible. So, probably only the first and last few hours of the day there will work.

To repeat what Nancy wrote: BE CAREFUL!

–Paul Lehman, San Diego
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports