Snail Kite photo_ F. Boyd Thompson of TCPalm News
This week's whirlwind tour of Central Florida offered the perfect winter fix of botany, birds and butterflies for the Weedpicker. And if you are ever flying in- or out- of the Orlando International Airport near Mickey Mouseland, do yourself a favor and schedule a side trip to Brinson Park in Kissimme, where one can see Florida's State and Federally endangered Snail Kites.
Jen Sauter and I made the trip today, thanks to Ann Oliver's great advice and directions to the exact location. And while our views were not a stellar as the photo above, it is always awe inspiring to be in the presence of an endangered species.
These kites soar about the back waters of Lake Tohopekaliga, or "Toho" for short, in search of freshwater apple snails. And with only an estimated 2,000 Snail Kites existing in the world today, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and U.S. Federal Wildlife Services are actively trying to warn boaters about disturbing the Snail Kite nesting areas, in an effort to protect them.
This was the last, but certainly not least of many interesting biological and botanical sights we crammed into our time during the Space Coast Birding Festival. Much more to come...