Anhingas in Florida

Amerikanischer SchlangenhalsvogelThe ditch along the visitor’s trail is teeming with fish. Suddenly a sharp, dart-like beak emerges out of the water right in front of us. It is followed by a long piece of neck. Like a snake, Anhingas – the snakebird – (Anhinga anhinga) glides silently through the water. Its water-permeable plumage reduces the buoyancy that occurs during diving and suppresses any rippling. For a while we see the slender bird body still sliding underneath us through the fairly clear water. Now it’s time to take care. Far more spectacular than Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) they fish under water. Anhingas use their pointed beak like a harpoon. The long neck, which is bent back in an S-shape before being impacted works like a taut feather and allows lightning-fast fishing under water. The Anhinga Trail in Florida’s Everglades offers ideal conditions to observe these black fish hunters. They harpoon the fish by piercing it with their closed beak. Then they look for a gnarled branch on the shore. Now the photographer has to react quickly. A special behavior follows a most interesting ritual. Anhingas try to free themselves from the pierced fish, in order to finally be able to swallow it. It often throws the prey into the air with impetus before catching him and finally devouring him. A little later, one can expect the Anhinga to spread its wings and let it dry itself from the sun.

With every drop of water that the sun draws from the wet plumage, the bird becomes more beautiful, especially if it is a male. If one then discovers one in the breeding dress, you can only hope that it sits as close as possible to the trail. Then it is possible to capture the bright yellow beak in portrait. Other features are the vivid emerald green of the eyes, the turquoise, bare face skin and the orange throat skin.

Anhingas are mostly colony breeders and on the Anhinga Trail there are always interesting insights into their nursery with the few shy birds. Watching a pretty ugly, uncommonly long-necked young bird in search of something edible push its head deep into the alto bird’s throat can make a difference. The gesture-rich courtship with “wing-beating”, the “nest display” and the interesting cleaning behavior can also be documented very well on the Anhinga Trail. Anhingas are feathered inhabitants of subtropical and tropical lakes and lagoons that live almost exclusively on freshwater fish.

Here at the Anhinga Trail, nature photographers from all over the world meet in order to get a photographic look under the almost ideal conditions in neotropical birdlife. End of March is a very good travel time. Particularly noteworthy are the birds that give their name to the famous circular path, the Anhingas or Snake birds. They always offer deep insights into their life adapted to the water so extraordinarily well.

To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western palearctic.  Trips to remote places like this one to capture images not only of rare birds of western palearctic were very successful. The nice image of the blog is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop” very soon. Just give me a message, if I could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

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