Flossy and its amazing technicolour dreamcoat

 

Preening its technicolor Dreamcoat

My favorite bird resident of Goldcliff Lagoons is "Flossy" the Glossy Ibis. The bird holds a special place in my heart. It has become a real enigma since I first sighted it at Goldcliff Lagoons on Sunday 20th, 2019. Ther had been reported sightings elsewhere in the Newport Wetlands reserve but nothing in terms of photographs or a positive sighting at Goldcliff. It was a cloudy and overcast morning back then and out of the reedbed located at Priors Lagoon, this strange bird rose and scared every other bird on the reserve into a panic. The bird was just a black silhouette and I just about managed to grab a quick couple of record pictures. The first thought that came into my head when I saw its shape was "Ibis" and then after a little research, I became confident it was a Glossy Ibis. You can read more about my first sighting at the Goldcliff here 

One of my first pictures of the Glossy Ibis

It is hard to believe now that "Flossy" has stayed at Goldcliff Lagoons for over eighteen months now. The Ibis has never looked like leaving and has gradually become less shy of people and has shown spectacularly in front of some of the platforms, especially on Priors Lagoon to onlooking birders.

During the winter months this year, the Ibis was often seen feeding on the grassy banks near the Snipe Platform

Trying to take a good photograph of this bird is not easy. In anything but the strongest sunlight, its plumage appears matt black. Only when the sun shines directly on the feathers does it reveal its amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

I have taken more pictures than I dare say of this fantastic bird. I must be this bird's equivalent of its most obsessed paparazzi or avid fan. One of my standout pics has been off Flossy at sunset. I spent a great deal to time over the last year hoping to get that picture and in March just before lockdown I got lucky one evening and it flew across the dusky sky.

Flossy at sunset

The majority of pictures and videos I have taken have shown Flossy in the dark light but in recent weeks including this weekend, I have been in the right place at the right time when "Flossy" has been lit up in some fantastic light.

At the beginning of the month after my long absence from Goldcliff , and concerns that my favorite bird had flown to pastures new it was seen fleetingly by my friend Nev Davies and then more regular again by other visitors.

One August weekend whilst watching it from the Snipe Platform the Ibis took to the air and showed off its incredible metallic-like technicolor plumage for the first time in direct sunlight. 

It finally reveals its true colours 

Many of us regulars at the time noted that the bird now appears to have more adult-like plumage. Perhaps the Ibis is coming of age. All it needs is a mate.

Even more recently during the dry spell, the Ibis was observed catching and eating elvers in the shallows of Priors Lagoon.

Catching elvers ( eels) in Priors Lagoon


This weekend, once again "Flossy" was showing in dramatic style. Whist roosting with a flock of Black-Tailed Godwits on Priors the sun illuminated the Ibis' feathers in all their glory.  I am always amazed at how something that looks in poor light so black can suddenly turn in good light into something completely dazzling.

Multicolored plumage

The plumage is looking more and more adult like

Today I arrived at the reserve a little after dawn and shortly after walking into the Snipe Platform and greeting two of my birding friends "Flossy" circled in the air over the lagoon and then chose to land in with the usual Godwit flock. As the bird passed me it gave me a flash of those metallic green wings in the dawn sunlight. It was absolutely great to have a greeting to the reserve from Flossy like that.

The sheen on the wings is amazing.






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