Another Harns Marsh Preserve Fail

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Having missed the Everglade Snail Kite at Harns Marsh Preserve last week, I was compelled to make a follow up trip on 26 July to attempt to observe the species.

I was much more observant to find Apple Snail eggs as well. The clutch of eggs above I questimate to contain 500, well within the range of 200-600 for this invasive species of snail.

There were other Apple Snail egg clutches observed on vegetation within the marsh.

The Apple Snail eggs above (image 1) were photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Limpkin above (image 2) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Great Blue Heron with prey above (image 3) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Least Bittern above (image 4) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.


The Least Bittern above (image 5) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

Ten Limpkin were observed before the first turn north of the parking area. As Limpkin in Florida rely almost exclusively on Apple Snails for their sustenance (as do Snail Kites), it would seem that Harns Marsh has a healthy supply of the food source.

The Chimney Swift above (image 6) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Purple Gallinule above (image 7) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Common Gallinule above (image 8) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The juvenile Boat-tailed Grackle above (image 9) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

Yet, it was again a disappointment not to see a Snail Kite. Their numbers have never been huge at Harns Marsh that I’m aware of, but I have personally seen upwards of five distinct Kites in one visit at this location. eBird checklists from Harns Marsh Preserve in recent months show Snail Kites have been present.

The Red-winged Blackbird above (image 10) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Red-shouldered Hawk above (image 11) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Red-shouldered Hawk above (image 12) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Boat-tailed Grackle above (image 13) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

Everglade Snail Kites, as of this writing, appear to be making a recovery in their numbers after a staggering 80% reduction in their numbers in the ten years preceding 2009. The Audubon Florida Everglade Snail Kite Nesting Season Summary 2012 is an interesting read.

The Great Blue Heron with prey above (image 14) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Limpkin above (image 15) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Limpkin above (image 16) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Great Blue Heron with prey above (image 17) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

There were a total of 30 bird species seen or heard with assurance with it possible for a few more to be added if I recognized the distant call or song. A much greater effort was made to document species not photographed well, or at all, at Harns Marsh last week.

The Great Blue Heron with prey above (image 18) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Great Blue Heron with prey above (image 19) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Tricolored Heron above (image 20) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The juvenile Tricolored Heron above (image 21) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

Least Bittern were very active in flight calling periodically from the get go this week. The very colorful Purple Gallinule made its appearance shortly thereafter, while Gray-headed Swamphen weren’t seen until much later after sunrise.

The Little Blue Heron above (image 22) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Gray-headed Swamphen above (image 23) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Green Heron above (image 24) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Gray-headed Swamphen above (image 25) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

A juvenile Purple Gallinule was observed feeding on the same Bent Alligator-Flag (Thalia geniculata) flowers as possibly one of its parents. According to eBird historical Bar Chart data, Purple Gallinule will disappear from Harns very soon from the time of this writing for six weeks. It will be interesting to see if the Gray-headed Swamphen will follow suit with no eBird data for the invasive species at Harns Marsh in preceding years.

The Tricolored Heron above (image 26) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The immature Sandhill Crane above (image 27) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Purple Gallinule above (image 28) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Purple Gallinule above (image 29) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

Even absent the Snail Kite, Harns Marsh Preserve in Lehigh Acres always offers a rewarding wildlife experience. Dragonflies were very abundant during this week’s visit though very infrequently perched in my observations. The Northern Flicker was a nice bonus.

The juvenile Purple Gallinule above (image 30) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Least Bittern above (image 31) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Least Bittern above (image 32) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Red-bellied Woodpecker above (image 33) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

If you have not made the effort to explore the eBird website, you are strongly encouraged to do so. The hours will pass very quickly. And be sure to make a special effort to visit Harns Marsh Preserve.

The dragonfly above (image 34) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Northern Flicker above (image 35) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

The Turkey Vulture above (image 36) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

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The Black Vulture above (image 37) was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in July 2016.

 

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Bob Pelkey

Bob Pelkey

This blog is updated every Friday (preferably) and randomly, primarily on the subject of wildlife observation in the state of Florida. This blog is in conjunction with my secondary photo site at http://www.pbase.com/jkrnm5/

Bob Pelkey

Bob Pelkey

This blog is updated every Friday (preferably) and randomly, primarily on the subject of wildlife observation in the state of Florida. This blog is in conjunction with my secondary photo site at http://www.pbase.com/jkrnm5/

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