Kenn with Carl "the bird ninja" Edwards.After Kenn's talk, Carl really wanted to take us to a few of his favorite birding spots, but Kenn and I needed to start the long drive back to Ohio. On our way out to the parking lot I was crying the blues to Carl about how I had really hoped to see a Snail Kite on this trip. He consoled me with a "maybe next time," and we said our goodbyes.
Kenn and I stopped for gas, tossed a coin about which route to take out of the gas station parking lot, and off we went. We hadn't driven a 1/4 of a mile when I noticed this dude alongside the road, standing outside his vehicle, flailing his arms and jumping up and down. At first I was thinking - News Headline: Florida Residents Reveal The True Meaning Behind the "SNAP" in Cold Snap! And then I realized that it was CARL! SO then I was thinking,"Well, too much birding and lack of sleep had finally taken its toll on Carl," but as we zipped past at 70 mph, I noticed he was actually pointing at something on a wire above this narrow canal. Oh man, could it be...
It was! A young male Snail Kite was walking the high wire, searching for snails from this primo vantage point above the canal.
We stood spell bound for several minutes, and then he ripped off the wire and the wind grabbed him and blew him right over my head.
KaPow! What a magnificent bird.
Kenn pointed out that the flight style of Snail Kites is much more relaxed than most raptors. After all, their prey are snails; no need get all fired up the chase.
He sashayed down into the canal and when he came back up he had a prize.
You can see it in his talons. I hope my friend Dave will give me props for this "Birds From Behind" photo!
He returned to his spot on the wire with his catch.
Eventually he settled in to chow his snail.
It was amazing to see the highly adapted bill and talons at work, getting to the heart of the snail matter.
Did anyone notice that the bird was banded? Kenn and I are working on blowing up the image to the point of reading the band. Unfortunately the light was really harsh, so the pictures aren't exactly razor sharp, but we're trying.Thanks again, Carl! I appreciate the lengths that you will go to help me see a particular bird.
Happy Birding, ya'll!