Two Roseate Spoonbills on Vicksburg CBC!

2010 December 19

VICKSBURG, MISS. — Yesterday during the Vicksburg Christmas Bird Count, I spotted an ibis-like bird at a distance, backlit by sunlight glittering off water in a borrow pit. We’d seen a few White Ibises — themselves a good find — already. But then I saw its bill and started yelling. Spoonbill!


And not just one — two! The birds flew up and circled a couple of times, showing off their brilliant pink plumage before settling back down just yards from the busy, noisy Interstate 20 bridge over the Mississippi River batture in Louisiana. Both pale immatures with downy white heads, they actually showed very little pink while standing still.

Roseate Spoonbill is a new species for the Vicksburg count, and in fact, the species has been recorded only one other time (two years ago) on any CBC circle centered in Mississippi ever! This eBird map of LA-MS spoonbill sightings December-February shows that away from the delatic marshes and rice country of southern Louisiana, spoonbills turn up only occasionally along the Red or Mississippi River floodplains.

It was a very exciting find, and in a bizarre coincidence, came only moments after I made a goofy offhand joke about the possibility. We also had two other new birds for the count: Peregrine Falcon (which Bruce had predicted — we might be oracles) and about a hundred dowitchers, which attracted the attention of the aforementioned falcon but all lived to tell about it.

There’s no doubt about it — the mighty Mississippi River produces good birds. Last year, we had swarms of pelicans and ibises and a count-week Laughing Gull along the river on the Vicksburg count, and a few days later found five Black-bellied Plovers on a sandbar in the river on the Eagle Lake count, which I’m doing again in a couple of days. Can’t wait!


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One Response
  1. Amy permalink
    December 20, 2010

    Congrats! :-)

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