An afternoon at Walsingham County Park in Largo provided me with an interesting view into the life of a Limpkin (Aramus guarauna). As usual, I snapped pictures of things that caught my eye as I strolled around. It wasn’t until I returned home and did a bit of research that all the pieces slotted together.
There were empty shells of the non-native Channeled Apple Snail (Pomacea canaliculata) littering the edges of the pond. Since they measure in at roughly three inches and are colorful I had to risk the muck in order to photograph them. In a rare positive twist when dealing with invasive species, the native Limpkin loves to dine upon them.
Their preferred food source, the endemic Florida Apple Snail, is a bit smaller and in decline (for a wide variety of reasons). I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I caught one of their egg masses with my camera that day. Here’s hoping they all hatch and survive!
Later I was able to watch a Limpkin up close for few minutes. I was hoping to catch the snail-eating action but instead a jogger flushed my bird. I followed at a respectful distance and was rewarded with a view of shift-change at the nest. The newcomer (not sure it is possible to identify gender, no apparent sexual dimorphism that I could discern) settled in after making a few decorative changes to the foliage.
I plan to check back soon (if quarantine restrictions allow) and see if there are any hatchlings. I just never know what show nature will have in store for me!