Ibis looking back

If I made a list of the most common sights in Florida, an ibis — the subject of my photo of the week — would be somewhere near the top of the list. You see them every day.

They can be found in wetland areas, as expected, walking with their heads down looking for insects or crustaceans in muddy surfaces. That’s to be expected. Ibises are wetland birds, after all. Freshwater marshes, flooded pastures, swamps and mudflats are all likely feeding grounds.

But I’m not in marshes or mudflats every day.

The most common place to find ibises is in a yard or park, walking in groups searching the grass for insects. The birds ignore nearby people and traffic as they graze.

It would be an understatement to say the birds have adapted well to populated areas.

I found this White Ibis perched on a limb above a swamp in Six Mile Cypress Slough in Fort Myers, Fla. I had walked around a curve on the boardwalk through the park when a spot of white caught my eye. I assumed it was an egret because I often see them perched in trees in the area. As I moved closer I saw it was an ibis.

The morning sunlight, filtering through the forest canopy, caught my attention. It was like a spotlight was illuminating the bird against the darker forest background. As I framed the ibis in my camera’s viewfinder the bird turned its head to look behind.

It was the perfect pose for a photograph. The curve of the neck and long bill created a sense of motion or flow. The head, the focal point of the photo, is positioned perfectly against a relatively uncluttered background. The scene has a serene feel. I knew immediately that I had a usable photo.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.


Date/time: Jan. 9, 2018, 9:53 a.m.  
Location: 26°34'33.539" N 81°49'21.941” W (Show in Google Maps)  
Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II  
Lens: Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm) 
Aperture: f/5.6  
Shutter: 1/1000th second  
ISO: 500