Flight of the ibis

To: "Canberra Birds" <>
Subject: Flight of the ibis
From: "John Layton" <>
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2014 17:56:06 +1100

The smell of bushfire smoke brought me to the front porch late last Saturday afternoon. A blue-grey mist of overcast and smoke hung in the south eastern sky. A few minutes later the 5:00pm news reported that the smoke haze was coming from a fire near Araluen.

I looked directly overhead – probably searching for rain clouds – and saw a very ragged echelon of eight Straw-necked Ibis flapping lugubriously from south to north.

Suddenly they seemed to strike an updraft. Immediately wings straightened into the soaring configuration( I was reminded of old Barnes Wallace and his swing-wing concept. Wonder if he was a birdwatcher?) and the semblance an arrowhead formation began to appear. But it was short lived, within a couple of seconds the ibis struck turbulence and were tossed about like autumn leaves caught in a gusting breeze. Quite an arresting sight to see these relatively large birds flung every which way.

The ibis flapped wildly as they fought to regain control and get back on course, and again they were successful seeming to run into another updraft clear of the turbulence. Wings straightened and they were up, up and away again. All nicely formed up into a V. Ten seconds later they had risen out of sight. Kind of beats watching TV.


John K Layton


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