Friday, January 22, 2016

Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) - 07Jun2014

"A bizarre wading bird of the southern coasts, the Roseate Spoonbill uses its odd bill to strain small food items out of the water. Its bright pink coloring leads many Florida tourists to think they have seen a flamingo." - Cornell website.

Bizarre is right.  Notice no adjectives describe this bird as beautiful despite it's bright pink coloration.  This bird has what some people call a butterface.  Everything is nice but-her-face.  If this bird's face was all white like an egret's, then it could be one of the most beautiful birds in North America.  However, it has been cursed with a butterface and hopefully that will help protect it from harassment.

This particular bird was found on the very East end of Bear Island which is also known as Hammocks State Beach near Camp Lejeune.  I remember this trip very well because unknown to me at the time, it was military appreciation day and the ferry landing and island drop off was a zoo.  It was a small miracle that I got on one of the ferries and made it over.  I was in a race for time because several hours later I was scheduled on the Ocracoke Ferry out of Cedar Island.  So once I made it to the beach on Bear Island I had to run the couple miles on beach sand to get the bird and run back.  I don't like being in such a rush, but this bird was very obliging and easy to find.  In fact the area it was in was full of beach goers and dogs running around so it was another small miracle that it was there.  I love when a plan comes together.  The odd thing is none of the non-birders even seemed to notice this large pink bird standing in the shallows. After all these years, I should not be surprised anymore about this, but it still boggles my mind that people were more interested in drinking bear and playing on their floats than studying this "bizarre" bird.

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