had hoped to hear the first Northern Parula of the season, but that was
not to be. Things got very interesting when we arrived at the large
watery wetlands. Right away, a pair of Northern Harriers were sighted.
A bit later, we came upon rafts of coots with many Ring-necked Ducks
mixed in. Elaine Roche saw a dozen American White Pelicans circling in
the distance. But the star of the show was this female Snail Kite.
Leaders Rey Wells and Larry Best sighted and chased via SUV the kite
that happened to be going our one way. Larry saw it perch on a low
roadside snag. The bird rested there for quite some time, giving
everyone a great opportunity for viewing and photographs.
Instead of taking the right turn and exiting to Emeralda Island Road as
we have in the past, we continued straight onto an even narrower one
lane road with a grass strip in the middle. We hoped to see the white
pelicans that Elaine had seen in the air. That didn’t happen, but we
were treated to an Osprey feeding on a fish near the top of a snag.
Seconds after this photo was taken, the Osprey lost control of it. No
one got a photo of the fish falling from the Osprey’s grasp. Darn!
We exited to Emeralda Island Road and headed for Leesburg for lunch
before stepping directly into Venetian Gardens.
On the way out of the lakeside Ski Beach restaurant, Bob Ross said that
that he and Elaine had to leave. The remaining eight of us went looking
for Purple Gallinules and other birds of interest. We sure found them.
Purple Gallinules were plentiful and were engaged in pre-breeding
activities. Lots of displaying and chasing was observed. But the
highlight of the Purple Gallinule show was this bird that had just caught
a large snail. Three other gallinules took turns attempting to partake in
As we finally headed back toward the parking lot, Lisa noticed a hawk
flying low with another bird in its talons. It landed nearby on the grass.
The hawk was a Red-shouldered. The prey was a Purple Gallinule.
Many photographs were taken as the hawk feasted on the gallinule.
It was quite a day at Emeralda and Venetian.
By Rey Wells