BLOOMINGTON — People are traveling to the northern portion of Lake Monroe in Monroe County to catch a glimpse of a rare bird — a roseate spoonbill — that was first spotted June 1 and may still be in the area.
It’s the first time the bird has been spotted in Monroe County.
Photographer Jeff Danielson was one of the first people, along with Ruth Ann Daniel and Ed Stokem, to see the bird that’s normally found in far southern portions of the U.S., including Florida and Texas, where it is still considered an uncommon species. The pink-colored bird with a rounded, spoon-shaped bill was in the middle of Stillwater Marsh along McGowan Road. Danielson returned to get photographs of the bird, which is the best way to document a rare species, after going home to put on some Wellington boots because of thick mud in the marsh.
“The only way to approach without startling (flushing) the birds was to wade through water that turned out to be well over my Wellies, so that’s what I did,” he said in an email. “Had I taken the direct route, I’d certainly have scared them off. This got me to a blind in the middle of the marsh from which I could observe and photograph without ‘flushing.’”
Danielson is often in the marsh area photographing birds, from land or his kayak, so he knows the area well. He left the area when more people showed up looking for the rare bird so the bird would feel less disturbed.
“It’s the third record of the species in Indiana,” said Jim Hengeveld, who teaches the biology of birds class at Indiana University and often takes his students out to the marsh. Both he and his wife, who also teaches classes at IU, have seen the spoonbill on several recent mornings.