Stormy weather, Snail Kites

Jul 03, 2009 by Janine
Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is one of the more reliable places to see Snail Kite here in South Florida. We decided to brave the dodgy weather last weekend and hike out along the Marsh Trail to see if we could find any. The clouds gathered ominously as we arrived but I was hopeful the storm would move off, so away we went.

We were greeted by this Rough Green Snake. Its been a while since I have seen one.





We continued walking and spotted this male Snail Kite from a distance. He was unperturbed by people walking by so I got to approach closely to photograph him.



There were thousands of Lubber Grasshoppers about, many of them mating pairs that would continue walking along like nothing was going on.



This one was munching on some fresh tasty pickerelweed blossoms.



See exciting chewing action.



As we continued, this young Snail Kite flew up and perched on a willow branch.





About the same time, the wind started picking up and the clouds began to darken and swirl threateningly. The young kite started making a racket as another kite approached carrying a snail.

Here's a video of said racket, followed by a good scratch.



At this point the thunder and lightning started up so I decided we had better get moving back to the truck. We suspect there are at least two pairs of kites, since the first male we saw was sitting in the same spot as we were leaving. We got to the truck just as the rain started to fall, ending our exciting day of wildlife watching.

Comments

Jul 04, 2009, 00:46:35 pete wrote:

love the hoppers!

Jul 04, 2009, 03:42:03 Tricia wrote:

Those grasshoppers are amazingly coloured! and I even like the snake (which was very brave of me). Wonderful to see kites that close - you must be glad to have braved the elements! Loved the final Kite picture - great capture J. :)

Jul 05, 2009, 08:14:56 oldcrow wrote:

Those grasshoppers are beautiful. Great Kite photos as well. And the snake, well you must know by now that I just love reptiles, lol.

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