A four-car caravan set off with walkie talkies on February 17th, opening day of the wildlife drive this year. As with our previous outing at Lake Apopka, we lucked out with a warm breezy day that preceded a showery cold front overnight. We parked the cars and went for a couple of short walks on mowed trails. A highlight was two kingfishers chattering and interacting in the air for several seconds near us. Later, at the first of several ponds, Bob Ross took this long-range photo of a Snail Kite. Note the orange feet. At the main pond, many Ring-necked Ducks and hundreds of coots entertained us. As we left for lunch, three American White Pelicans flew over. We enjoyed a waterfront window lunch at Ski Beach Bar and Grill in Leesburg. Here are eight of the nine participants. Your reporter is the photographer.
Three folks had to forego Venetian Gardens. The rest of us took the short walk from the restaurant parking lot to the Gardens. A slow stroll along Lake Harris and over the several bridges of the Gardens produced close-up photo opportunities of several species, including Little Blue Herons and Great Egrets. The stars of the show, as usual there, were the Purple Gallinules. They were numerous. Toward the end of our stroll, this pair of Purple Gallinules were photographed while fulfilling their mission in life. Forty nine species were tallied by Bob Ross at Emeralda. An additional five were spotted at Venetian Gardens. Rey wells
4 members who could not go on the event day, went the following week. We tallied 53 species. They were similar but not the same species. The striking difference was the 53 Ring-necked ducks the first week and our tally of 300+ .