I didn’t realize until after I sent my message that Kevin McGowan had already 
sent a message. It sounds like the bird was somewhat closer for us, and our 
lighting was a bit better. We only had a strong wind from our backs and a bit 
of spitting rain, not a downpour. Ann & I found that by using a window mount on 
each passenger side window of her car we could steady our scopes better and not 
be in the rain. Ann & Wade also walked along the driveway to gate where she 
used her scope on her tripod and Wade used his camera with a fairly big lens. 

Kevin McGowan thought the bird was a non-breeding adult. I am interested in 
why. There may have been clues to its age that I overlooked. I think we were 
close enough that we should have seen either the pink facial skin of a 
non-breeding adult White-faced or the pale outline around the brown skin of a 
non-breeding adult Glossy. I think the feathering encroached more closely 
around a small dark facial area, like on the juvenile heads which Sibley shows, 
although this bird was old enough that the bill had changed to a single color. 
Perhaps the red eye of a non-breeding adult White-faced would have required 
more light for us to see, but none of us noticed it, although we were looking. 

- - Dave Nutter

> On Nov 5, 2017, at 6:55 PM, Dave Nutter <nutter.d...@mac.com> wrote:
> This afternoon a Plegadis, sp., ibis was reported on the north side of 
> Armitage Road in the partially flooded field west of Olmstead Road and east 
> of the Clyde River & Erie Canal swamps. This is in Wayne County, in the 
> southwest corner of the Town of  Savannah. The bird was close to the east end 
> of the field and about halfway from Armitage Road to the far dike, foraging 
> in a non-flooded part of the muddy field and sometimes in an adjacent weedy 
> strip. At least one Canada Goose was not in a sharing mood and caused the 
> ibis to walk extra and even fly a short distance.
> If anyone can say based on extensive experience and seeing this bird or 
> photos of it whether it is a Glossy Ibis or it is a White-faced Ibis, I am 
> interested in an ID and the basis for it.
> I believe it was a juvenile bird just starting its first winter, based on the 
> general lack of contrast of the plumage of the body & folded wings. It was 
> fairly dark brown on the body with only a small amount of slight green 
> highlight on the wing coverts that I saw. The head & neck were tan and 
> lighter on the side of the head. The legs were all dark. The bill appeared 
> uniform gray. There was no indication of red on the facial skin nor any pale 
> edging (indeed I could not see any facial skin), nor any red to the eye. I 
> suspect it was too young to develop any of these field marks. Perhaps the low 
> heavy cloud cover, and the distance to the bird made such subtleties too hard 
> to discern even at 60x with a scope steadied against the brisk wind. That’s 
> my observation, but others may have seen things differently.
> I think the gray bill suggests White-faced. The lack of pale edging to the 
> facial skin would also suggest White-faced, but as I said, it may be too 
> young for that feature of Glossy to develop. I’m pretty sure this is too 
> early in the season to expect the red eye or red facial skin of White-faced 
> to be present, so their absence would mean nothing. I believe red legs would 
> only be on the breeding plumage White-faced. I thought the tan head & neck 
> might suggest White-faced as well, but I could be wrong about that. As for 
> the overall body color, I thought Glossy should be darker, but I can’t claim 
> enough experience to be certain. Maybe if this bird sticks around for some 
> sunshine, then someone can judge the colors and highlights better. 
> Other observers present while I was there included Ann Mitchell, Kevin 
> McGann, & Wade & Melissa Rowley. Wade in particular had the impression that 
> the overall tone of the body was dark, suggesting Glossy to him. He has 
> traveled through the White-faced Ibis’ range during the winter, so he has 
> more experience than I do, but he still doesn’t claim to be an expert. He 
> took plenty of photos, although my impression was that the bird was lighter 
> in color in real life than at the least the one photo he showed me. If anyone 
> does want to claim the role of expert, here’s an opportunity. It may be that 
> birds of this age are just too hard to tell apart unless both species are 
> side-by-side. I have heard second-hand that Kevin McGowan had also observed 
> this bird quite a while, taken lots of photos, and not yet reached a 
> conclusion, and perhaps that’s as good an expert opinion as we can expect.
> Similarly, I am interested in others’ observations of details of this bird, 
> and what they may or may not suggest as to its ID, regardless of any 
> conclusion or claim of expertise. It’s an interesting puzzle.
> It would be nice to settle on a species not just for my own and others’ 
> personal lists, but for the 2017 edition of Cayuga Lake Basin First Records 
> list which I have maintained on the Cayuga Bird Club website. There were two 
> other all-dark ibis sightings this year, a single bird over Tschache Pool and 
> a small flock over Cornell University, and both times the observers  assumed 
> them to be Glossy without any details to distinguish the birds from 
> White-faced, the former observation being a shaky, distant, and 
> much-magnified video, and the latter observation being a naked-eye view of 
> birds in flight at 75 yards. I do not doubt each were ibis, but I think one 
> cannot assume that just because we are closer to the usual range of Glossy 
> that they are overwhelmingly more likely to stray west from their coastal 
> breeding range as opposed to White-faced straying east from their breeding 
> range. Indeed we once had one of each side-by-side at Benning Marsh. Anyway, 
> I counted both of those observations as Plegadis, sp., and I’m looking for an 
> observation of a bird which is distinctly either Glossy or White-faced before 
> I put it on the year’s list.
> - - Dave Nutter
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