2022—Snail Kite

Wow! What a way to start an adventure! Our goal was to photograph the endangered Florida Snail Kite whose territory is central Florida. The bird is on both the National and Florida State endangered species lists, with fewer than 1000 individuals. Its diet consists almost exclusively of native apple snails and now it is acclimating to a much larger introduced snail. I was not expecting to see, let alone photograph the rare bird especially with its native namesake prey, until we’d been here a while, at least a few hours if not a few days. We climbed onto the air boat under Captain Mark’s command and buzzed out of the dock and headed into Lake Kissimmee in central Florida. Within a few minutes, we encountered this banded male Snail Kite and spent much of our three plus hours on the water with him and a cooperative female. In total, we saw three Snail Kites, one male and two females, and 38 species of birds during the morning. My kind of morning!