Dotty et al. . . .
At STA-5, south of Clewiston in Hendry County, virtually EVERY Purple
Gallinule we see there (and we saw dozens and dozens of them a few
weeks back on our last tour), feed on these Alligator Flag flowers.
They must have be an incredible energy source for these birds as they
almost exclusively feed on them. . . . The PUGAs can do some amazing
acrobatics to get at these flowers as you know. . . . On the other
hand, we've never seen any Purple Swamphens at STA-5 feeding on the
Alligator Flag flowers.
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On Nov 2, 2007, at 9:07 PM, [log in to unmask] wrote:
> Jeff and all,
> One of the most amusing bird observations from my 23 years in S FL
> was watching the Purple Gallinules feed at Wakodahatchee (Powerline
> Rd, in, I guess, Boynton Beach). At that site, at least, they show
> a strong preference for Alligator Flag, the plant shown in your
> blog photo. They climb as high as they can in these plants, and nip
> off the purple flower buds.
> They like these, maybe, too much. As they get higher on these
> plants, the stems get weaker and gravity comes into play. There's
> one more tasty bud out on the far end, but... If ever you could
> imagine a bird thinking, weighing his options, this is it. They
> will sit and seem to ponder for a minute or two. Then they take
> that next step up, and then the risky stretch to reach the
> It's hard not to laugh, and no harm done.
> Wakodahatchee offers some of the best bird observation
> opportunities. The birds become habituated to people tromping the
> boardwalks (some just for exercise) and show little fear. This is a
> great place to take beginners or non-birders.
> Green Cay Wetlands, directly west on Hagen's Ranch Rd., was built
> in Wakodahatchee's image, and offers similar observation
> Dotty Robbins
> (now in) High Springs
> -- Jeff Bouton <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Despite birding everywhere BUT Florida these days, I like to pop my
> head up once in a while to show I still have an address in FL and
> bird once in a great while here. Plus I heard a nasty rumor
> somewhere that some FL birders thought I may have died or
> something, so I figured this would be a good opportunity to nip
> that in the butt!
> At any rate, just before shooting up to Cape May, NJ for a bird
> show up there I had the opportunity to visit Wakodahatchee Wetlands
> with the boy. While there we saw many Purple Gallinules 20-30, an
> immature Least Bittern, a Solitary Sandpiper, and a handful of
> warblers including BT Blues and Magnolias along with the common
> "winter fare".
> Most interesting was the opportunity to compare Purple Gallinules
> and Purple Swamphen side by side. I was able to get good digiscoped
> photos of both and even shot a little "video-scoped" movie through
> the scope of the Swamphen feeding. As Bill Pranty described in his
> article which appeared in Birding magazine a few years back (Bill
> do you have the citation handy?), I was able to clearly study and
> document the differences in feeding styles between the native
> Gallinule and the much larger Swamphen.
> Old hat for those of you in the Lauderdale area, but was a novel/
> fun experience for me and Austin. I wrote a fun little blurb in my
> birding blog complete with images and video clip here:
> and for those wanting to see all of the images from the day you can
> visit my photo sharing site here:
> Hope all are well and having a good season!
> Jeff Bouton (still alive and birding)
> Leica Sport Optics
> Port Charlotte, FL
> [log in to unmask]
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