Feeding Time for the Purple Martins

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It was a quiet morning on the south shore of Lake Apopka. Overhead I heard the chattering calls of Purple Martins. I located four of them sitting in the top of a tall tree. Periodically they would dart out, fly around, and then return to the tree to rest. I positioned myself on a good sun angle and waited for the next flight shots. I’ll confess that there was a small bit of squealing when I saw the images on my computer…

It was a juvenile Purple Martin who flew out from the tree. He met Mom in mid-air. Mom had a tasty dragonfly for him. He hovered briefing as she flew in for the handoff.

Purple Martins
Purple Martins – Mom has a tasty snack for the juvenile

The handoff happened very quickly. On my next frame, Mom was flying off, and the baby had a mouth full of dragonfly! A second juvenile joined the flight party.

Purple Martins
Purple Martins – Swallowing a Dragonfly in mid-air!

The dragonfly disappeared quickly. The juvie had it in this next frame, then it was gone in the following image. gulp!

Purple Martins
Purple Martins – Where’s Mine? I didn’t get one!

A few seconds later, both juvies flew in the opposite direction, probably off to find Mom to beg for some more breakfast. It takes a lot of bugs to feed a growing Purple Martin!

Purple Martins
Juvenile Purple Martins

Want to learn more about nature photography at Lake Apopka?

Check out my Lake Apopka page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!

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