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Purple Gallinules at Lake Parker Park

My dad and I decided to spend the morning at Lake Parker Park in Lakeland about two weekends ago.  We’ve seen incredible photos of Purple Gallinules and Snail Kites taken there.  We certainly saw plenty of Purple Gallinules!  They are as friendly as the ducks at Lake Morton.  I think people feed them.  It’s convenient when they come super-close for head shots!

Purple Gallinule Head Shot

Purple Gallinule Head Shot

We got there at sunrise, only to realize that Lake Parker is really an afternoon photography spot.  We were shooting straight into the sun when we looked out over the lake.  So we headed around the park’s trails in search of other birds.  We heard a family of Great-crested Flycatchers in the treetops near one parking lot.  Then we found a family of Northern Parulas.  It’s the first time I’ve seen juvenile paroles.

Northern Parula in the Treetop

Northern Parula in the Treetop

Back out by the lake, several Limpkins were feasting on apple snails for breakfast.  I heard the persistent nagging call of a baby Limpkin, but I couldn’t find any small brown fuzzballs.  Then I realized that the calls were coming from an almost-fully-grown juvenile bird.  Mom had an apple snail and the juvie was begging for a few bites.  He ended up taking most of the snail!

Limpkin with Juvenile

Limpkin with Juvenile

After the sun came up, the light was just beautiful on the Purple Gallinules.  There were a bunch of adults and several juvenile birds.  They were wading in the puddles left by the previous night’s rain.  The water was still and their reflections were pretty.  This juvenile appears to be peering at himself.

Juvenile Purple Gallinule with Reflection

Juvenile Purple Gallinule with Reflection

I laid down in the grass to get a better angle on these pretty birds.  One adult strutted across the park.  He paused to peer at a blade of grass.  It looks like he is counting the mosquitos on it!

Purple Gallinule Counting Bugs on a Blade of Grass

Purple Gallinule Counting Bugs on a Blade of Grass.  Best viewed large on 500px.

It was still early when we finished at Lake Parker, so we made an impromptu stop at Lake Morton.  More on that in the next post!

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