Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Roosting Spoonbills

As I said in the earlier posts, the actual main target for my short trip to Fukuoka was the globally endangered Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor). I did see it and in a good number too, but all of them were staying just too far out in the river. Before going on the trip, I made a little research about where to see the spoonbills, and I found that a good number of them can be seen constantly at Imazu. I came across several videos on YouTube showing the spoonbills resting on a small island in the middle of a huge river. I recognised the island easily as soon as I arrived at the place in Imazu. On the small island, there was a medium-sized flock of white birds roosting motionlessly. I was surprised by how easy these birds can be found here in Fukuoka. I began to settle down waiting for the birds to wake up and start feeding. From what I saw in the videos, these birds feed along the river banks close to the footpath, so I thought that once they wake up, it'd be easy for me to get photos of them closely. However, it turned out that they mostly spent the time on the island. Otherwise they just flew out and disappeared into the distance.
Roosting Black-faced Spoonbills (Platalea minor)

On the first day, I counted 25 spoonbills at once. At least 3 of them were Eurasian Spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia), but there might be more since I couldn't check every individual whether it was Black-faced or Eurasian because many of them were sleeping with their bills hidden in the feathers. I believe that there would be even more birds at dusk once they all come back to roost. On the second day, there were only 18 birds. I tried waiting until the evening but none of them came feeding along the river banks. I was really surprised that they were really lazy birds. Most of them didn't wake up from their sleep at all! Only a few of them began to preen and bath when the sun began to set. At least I found one of their feeding sites as mentioned in the earlier post here. Hopefully, I'll be able to see a few Black-faced Spoonbills at this feeding site during my next visit.
An adult Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
among the smaller Black-faced Spoonbills (Platalea minor)
Adult (right) and juvenile (left) Eurasian Spoonbills

The only active juvenile Black-faced Spoonbill
A subadult Eurasian Spoonbill coming back to the roosting site

Here's a video showing Black-faced and Eurasian Spoonbills bathing and preening at their roosting site at sunset. Don't forget to select 1080p for a better viewing!

5 comments:

Stuart Price said...

I can sympathize, sitting and waiting for distant birds to come closer and do something interesting can be frustrating, at least it's not so cold where you are.......

Russell said...

Very nice photos and actually good numbers. Love the flight shot.

Chris said...

Well we sometime have to try several time and be patient, that's life but I like your pictures because we can see the environment too...

Phil said...

Thtat's just what Spoonbills do (or rather, dont do) whenever I see them. They tend to stand around not doing much at all. Very frustrating when trying to get photographs. I didn't realise the Black-faced was so endangered, whilst the European seems to be spreading.

John said...

Great to see BFSs over there !