Anhinga feast in Venice, Florida



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Maxine Barritt Park

Florida’s ubiquitous “water bird,” the Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) is a consumate fisherman. On a recent visit to Venice Beach, I stopped at Maxine Barritt Park to watch some of these interesting birds feeding on small fish.

Maxine Barritt Park

Maxine Barritt Park is a new and unique multi-use facility located right on the beach. The fresh water impoundment where I watched the anhingas was once part of a waste water treatment facility. Deemed by the city to be inappropriately located so near the beach it was relocated, and the site converted into a lovely park with a large pavilion, fresh water pond, kids playground, walking/jogging track, rest rooms, and FREE beach parking!If you like beaches, Venice has it all….including a popular doggie beach where your canine friends can run on the sand and swim in the Gulf.

Here’s a look at the impoundment and paved walking track. Lots of birds….and a few very large reptilians.

Also called “snake bird” and “water turkey,” anhingas like to feed in fresh water ponds and slow moving rivers and streams.

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

Great swimmers, anhingas actually spear small fish underwater.Then they surface and flip the fish in the air in order to swallow them head first! Not having the well developed oil glands that other water birds do to keep their feathers dry, the anhinga is often seen on shore or in trees with wings spread to dry in the sun. Energetics and spread wing behavior of anhingas. But, beware Mr Anhinga, as Florida’s ponds have other hungry creatures!

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

Nature’s food web is sometimes unpleasant to watch, but I’m sure it was just as unpleasant to watch the anhingas feed…..that is if you are a small fish!

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

Nature isn’t just seen in the wild areas….it abounds as well in city and suburb, so get out and enjoy.

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

Steven Scott

Steven Scott

is a photonaturalist blogger based in Florida and Maine. He has surveyed butterflies with Earthwatch Institute in the mountains of Vietnam, tagged juvenile snook with Mote Marine Laboratory in the mangroves of Florida and filmed a BioBlitz insect survey in Acadia National Park. A registered nurse and retired Army officer, Steven believes man is an integral part of nature and travels annually to Vietnam with humanitarian medical teams from Vets With a Mission.

Steven Scott

Steven Scott

Steven Scott is a photonaturalist blogger based in Florida and Maine. He has surveyed butterflies with Earthwatch Institute in the mountains of Vietnam, tagged juvenile snook with Mote Marine Laboratory in the mangroves of Florida and filmed a BioBlitz insect survey in Acadia National Park. A registered nurse and retired Army officer, Steven believes man is an integral part of nature and travels annually to Vietnam with humanitarian medical teams from Vets With a Mission.

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