As I noted in a long-forgotten blog entry, where you find American Avocets you almost invariably find Black-Necked Stilts and White-Faced Ibis. Apparently, the corollary is also true: if you don’t find Avocets you probably won’t find Black-necked Stilts or White-Faced Ibis, either.
We saw more Black-necked Stilts in wetlands next to the freeway on our way to Bear River than we did on the refuge. The only shot we managed in the refuge was this one, taken at the beginning of the auto tour.
Luckily, we saw more White-faced Ibis than we did stilts. It was hard to miss the distinctive profile as small flocks of Ibis flew overhead.
Unfortunately, the sunlight didn’t cooperate when we finally spotted several Ibis foraging in the wetlands.
You would swear that White-faced Ibis are a dark, brown color from shots like this.
It’s only in the kind of light we got at the end of the road tour that you can clearly see, as the Cornell site points out: “The handsome White-faced Ibis shimmers with purple, green, and bronze plumage. Breeding adults add to this a ruby-red eye surrounded by a sharp white mask, and pink legs.”
Of course, it would be easier to accurately render the colors I saw if water didn’t look as different in varying light as the birds do, making it difficult to know if your camera accurately recreated the colors you saw. It might also help if I didn’t automatically underexpose my shots to avoid blown-out highlights, but that’s a discussion for another time. My mind tells me that water should be a blue/deep blue, but my camera constantly reminds me that what is inside my head isn’t always true. I still struggle to recreate what I saw when I took the shot, not just what the camera captured.