This weekend my dad and I went exploring and found Apple Snail Paradise. What’s an apple snail? It starts as a small pink egg – you might have seen one in a nearby pond. The mature snail has a shell about the size of a small fist. Two types of birds love apple snails, Limpkins and Snail Kites. So you can guess what kinds of birds we found in Apple Snail Paradise…
Yep, that’s a female Snail Kite. A year-round resident in Florida, this bird’s main food source is the apple snail. Snail kites are endangered in the US and in Florida, and I’ve had limited opportunities to observe and photograph them, so my trigger finger went a little crazy! :)
Here’s a fun sequence of photos as the kite saw a snail, flew overhead, snatched it from the water, flew off with it, and settled on a stick to eat it. The Snail Kite’s beak is perfectly designed to pull the snail meat from the shell.
Such a great morning with a great bird! Later she was really nice to us and flew right by…
Apple Snail Paradise is, of course, home to another bird that loves apple snails, the Limpkin. We lost count of the number of Limpkins we saw that morning. I think my dad was actually a little happy to get away from their constant cries when we left! I did get some photographs of Limpkins carrying snails, but they always flew away from me. I’ll have to go back and get some better angles.
Apple Snail Paradise is also the home to some shy and beautiful birds, who don’t eat apple snails. Say hello to the Wood Duck Trio! :)
Was this in Polk County by chance? I think I recognize a stick or two?
Thank you, Jeff :)
Those are awesome shots! What a great encounter with the beautiful snail kite. Just love them and your captures. I’m sure that you and your dad were thrilled.