I am a stalker. At least that’s what this American White Ibis was most likely thinking as it kept his eye on me.
Most of the traffic around this pond at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center didn’t pay any notice as the ibis foraged for food along the water’s edge. Riders and horses travel back and forth along a sandy path adjacent to the water, which takes them from the show grounds to their home barns off the property. The humans, horses and birds may glance toward one another now and then, but generally there’s little interaction. That is, until I showed up.
Twice I photographed this lone ibis as it fed. The first time it allowed me pretty close, maybe thinking I was just a random human acting strangely. Eventually, it flew up into a nearby tree and stared down at me. About an hour later I returned to the pond to see it back in action. This time, though, it was watching for me and immediately turned to walk the opposite way.
I pretended to pay no notice and sat in the grass. Eventually, it forgot about me (or chose to ignore me) and my large lens and resumed its stroll around the pond, approaching to within 15 feet of me. I shot some fun photos of it catching various creatures, but when another ibis arrived at the opposite end of the pond it flew off . Maybe the ibis wanted to defend its territory or check out a new friend, but I like to think it was warning its comrade to stay away from this side of the pond because there was a stalker on the loose!