This Bird Has Flown

Hungry ibis gather at the base of a cypress tree. Photo: Ruth Ann Bigger

It’s been pretty dreary today, and there haven’t been a lot of reasons to look out the windows here at the Swan Lake Visitors Center.  However, I have decided that I’d best make it more of a habit, because in our wonderful natural habitat, there’s no telling what I could miss!

Although Swan Lake is home to a wide variety of migrant species—both airborne and water fowl—we had some very special visitors last week.  If you were here last Thursday afternoon, you might have been lucky enough to spot a flock of white ibis.  I got an excited call from my supervisor, who had gotten a call from a member of the Friends of Swan Lake, and so I was fortunate to see a sight that I am assured is a rarity at the gardens.  In fact, in the nine years that the Visitors Center has been in operation, I’ve never seen or even heard of these birds being here.

Australian black swans approach, apparently wondering what's going on! Photo: Ruth Ann Bigger

White ibis are not normally seen in this part of the state—in fact, there is only a 2-10% chance of seeing them this far inland.  Although we are in their migratory path, they usually don’t stop.  Imagine our surprise when they decided to come and hang out for a good part of the afternoon!  It was a beautiful day (and the fishing was probably excellent), so why not?

It all goes to show that nature is never wholly predictable.  If you’ve been to Swan Lake Iris Gardens and think you’ve seen it all, there might be a surprise in store for you!

Everyone must have enjoyed lunch, and now it's time to chill in the cypress trees for a while.

Many thanks to Ms. Ruth Ann Bigger for being in the right place at the right time!

This entry was posted in Sumter SC Tourism, Sumter, South Carolina, Visit Sumter SC and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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