Jessica Rock considers herself lucky to have seen the rare visitor at the Brookfield marsh.
She was walking along the Brookfield Wetland and Nature Trail when she saw the glossy ibis, which is drawing photographers and bird watchers from across Nova Scotia.
“I think it’s great to see him, but we need be mindful of the effects we can have on wildlife,” said Rock, a veterinarian who often works with wild birds. “The marsh is very close to busy roads and so if people are photographing birds they should be careful not to be in a position where they might flush them toward the road.”
She said people not familiar with birding might be able to get tips from experienced birders at the site.
One of the experienced bird watchers who visited the marsh to see the glossy ibis was Jason Dain, who lives in Upper Tantallon and is a member of the Nova Scotia Bird Society.
“When I saw it there was 150 feet of muck between the bird and people, so it chose how close it wanted to get,” he said. “It’s a beautiful bird and I hadn’t seen one in Nova Scotia before.
“When news about it spread people headed out to see it. Sometimes they’re one-day wonders.”
Dain often travels for work and has seen a glossy ibis in other places.
“The more typical habitat is around the Gulf Coast and Florida,” said Rock. “We’re outside their normal range. I have heard of them being seen in the southern part of the province.
“With the storm systems we’ve been having, a lot of unusual birds are showing up.”
The birds breed in large colonies and she expects this one will eventually make his way back to a breeding group.
“If you go out to see the ibis, don’t forget about the other birds in the area,” she added. “There are some amazing things to see but be mindful of what effect your presence is having on nature. Don’t try to get too close and keep dogs under control.”
Information on photographing birds can be found on Audubon’s Guide to Ethical Bird Photography.
Information on wildlife issues can be found on the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre website.
Have long legs and a long bill
Forage in wetlands and wet fields, eating insects, small fish and snakes, and seeds
Nest on the gound in colonies
The oldest recorded glossy ibis was at least 21 years old.
Found along the Atlantic coast, mainly in Florida but sometimes into Maine.