Sunday, April 27, 2008

Meet the Limpkin Family

We were on our way to a friends house and had a short time to take a walk around a local lake smack in the middle of a very active city environment. I have seen some birds here at Lake Lily in the past but that was usually during the middle of Winter. Spring is here so I didn't expect too much.

There were a few ducks, as usual, but all of the warblers had moved on. A flock of White Ibis prowled the shoreline but not much else was on the west side of the lake. Perhaps the festival that was now wrapping up had something to do with it.

We continued on to the Eastern side of the boardwalk and did find some Boat-tailed Grackles and various turtles. I started to notice a ton of Apple Snail eggs on the bull rushes as e headed this way. Why didn't I see any Limpkin here? They LOVE Apple Snails.

Of course, I have never seen a Limpkin around this area before in the past so why would I expect one here. Except for the buffet that seemed to be brewing all around the lake...

We ventured farther out on the back boardwalk and did manage to find a relaxing Common Moorhen.

Common Moorhen

Just past the end of the boardwalk we spotted an Anhinga with the craziest hairdo I have ever seen on one. He was hanging out with a couple of friends and allowed dozens of shots.


That was a nice end to the walk, I figured, as we had made it almost all the way around the lake and were getting close to the van again. Suddenly, however, a pair of Limpkin appeared! Both were near the sidewalk and seemed to be actively collecting snails.

I moved in close for some shots. The birds didn't seem to even notice me.


Nor did I notice the other inhabitants right under my lens. As I moved on from my present subject, Carolyn mentioned that there were chicks down in the rushes. What do ya know? There were two fluffy chicks resting on the edge of the lake. The floor or their home was littered with discarded Apple Snail shells.


Just to the right of these two was yet another chick! It followed Dad in and tried to help pry loose the sweet snail flesh.


Dad went straight back to snail hunting and walked right toward me. I had a difficult time keeping focus as he was approaching so quickly. Still ended up nice and sharp.


Meanwhile, one of the chicks waited and stretched on the shore.


Soon, it tried to emulate its father in the snail collecting business.


My favorite shot, though, was when Dad was coming back with a snack and the chick excitedly flapped its sprouting wing feathers.


So, a whim of a walk turned into an exciting photo shoot. The kind of happy accident I love.

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