SEEN BUT NOT YET PHOTOGRAPHED IN CALIFORNIA
The WHITE IBIS is an exceptional vagrant in California with only 2 or 3 records. An immature was collected at San Diego 20 Nov 1935 (it had been found on 15 Nov 1935) for the first state record. One was around Bolinas Lagoon and at San Rafael, Marin Co., 14-19 May 1971 and 27 Jun-15 Sep 1971. The CBRC has considered this a likely escape on a split vote but I've always thought it more likely wild than not. There was a known escapes from captivity in L.A. in spring 1978 that moved to Pt. Mugu VEN for the summer & fall. Finally, there were a series of observations of an adult at the Salton Sea: north end RIV 10-24 Jul 1976, south end IMP 5 Aug 1976, and Unit 1, Salton Sea NWR, south end Salton Sea IMP 25 Jun-14 Jul 1977. In 2001 (25 years later!) the CBRC voted to consider all the Salton Sea sightings as involving the same wild bird.
I saw the Salton Sea adult as follows:
7/22/76 Whitewater R. m., Salton Sea north end RIVI wrote these descriptions (copied verbatim from my notes):
7/14/77 Unit 1, Salton Sea NWR, south end Salton Sea IMP
See the family page for county abbreviations. All photos & text © 2001 Don Roberson; all rights reserved.
White Ibis 22 July 1976: “Present since discovered by Guy McCaskie 10 July. Seen perched low on large dead snag above reedbed with 20 Snowy Egrets, 1 Great Egret, and 2 Black-crowned Night-Herons. Large -- size of Great Egret. The long downcurved pink bill with dark tip (1/3) very distinctive. Bare skin around eye and legs also pink. Rest of plumage white, except when flapping wings once to change positions the black primary tips, cut off sharply from the rest of wing, were clearly seen. Took off on closer approach. But viewed for 10 minutes at 400 yrds through 7X35 binoculars. Second good state record.” White Ibis 14 July 1977: "Found previously by Garth Alton & Craig Hohenberger. I walked to spot and couldn't find it. Just as I gave up and turned to head back, what should fly right over my head than the White Ibis! Similar in shape to nearby White-faced but larger and bulkier. Plumage all white except for very tips of primaries -- jet black and sharply cut off -- like dipped in ink. Long curved bill red, bare shin on face red. Unmistakable. Long legs, color not noted.
The bird arrived from the west, flew by me (within 50 ft.) and continued east into the sun -- mostly flapping -- occasionally gliding. Flew with neck outstretched & legs stuck out behind. Seen for 1-2 minutes in good light with 7X35 binos."
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