May 1, 2019 – Venetian Gardens Park

It was as perfect a day as days can get for lunch and a walk in the park. And, we didn’t waste it. This grill was in front of our parking space

Looks as though there was some excitement at this picnic grill recently. Having seen all the stuff people put in barbecue grills up in Big Creek, I surmise that it could have been just about anything.

For some reason, I can never remember the name of Limpkin. We see several every time we take a walk in the park and then have to look it up again. Limpkin. Limpkin. Limpkin.

Limpkin

There were three or four of what I call odd ducks roosted at the water’s edge. Surely there is some Mallard in there.

Odd Duck

This Purple Gallinule walking across lily pads was most entertaining. By the time it disappeared into the grasses, it was running.

Purple Gallinule

The Red Heron, not to be confused with a red herring, looks a lot like a Little Blue Heron, except for the red neck and head.

Red Heron

A Great Blue Heron was standing majestically along the shore as we walked by so, of course, I took some photos. The most interesting one was when it stopped being majestic and scratched its chin.

Great Blue Heron

The Gallinules were abundant and active today. Their feathers were iridescent in the bright sunshine.

Purple Gallinule or Moor Hen

I saw this egret catch a frog. Swallowing the frog was a different story. We stood and watched for a long while as the egret seemed to have succeeded only to spit it back out and start over.

Great White Egret with Frog

The problem seemed to be the frog’s front legs which kept sticking out at the top of the egret’s beak.

It was a dexterous trick to spit the frog out and flip it around to a different position.

The egret’s throat was bulged out. I was feeling a great deal of pity for the poor frog. I hoped it was dead early on.

Poor frog. We watched it go in and out of the egret’s mouth until we got tired of standing there. We walked on and did not see whether the egret ever got its lunch down to its stomach or not.

I have never seen a gallinule with wings spread like this. This photo will make a great addition to my bird-butt collection.

Purple Gallinule

There must have been some pest annoying it. We saw a lot of flapping and scratching before moving on.

The red heron was just a shiver of feathers the moment before I snapped this picture.

Red Heron
Venetian Gardens Canal

At one point a gallinule seemed to be fussing at us as we began to cross a bridge. Then I spotted a nest in the weeds. There were at least two black fuzz balls in there, but I could not get a good picture of them. Ah, spring! I love babies.

On the far side of the bridge, a newly-hatched Common Gallinule/Common Moorhen was out of the nest and on the lawn. Two siblings were at the edge of the nest, not quite ready to conquer the grass.

Common Moorhen with Chick

It is about the size of a newly-hatched chicken.

Moorhen Chick

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a turtle with so much moss on its shell.

Fuzzy Green Turtle

Some water lilies at the edge of the lake are in such shallow water that the flowers do not sit on the surface. This one was about a foot above the water.

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Venetian Gardens

We drove to the house mid morning, but no one was there. We walked around a bit anyway and then stopped by the grocery store for some fruit before heading back to the motorhome for lunch. Since there was no one to watch working, we decided to explore Venetian Gardens.  We have passed it a number of times and often said we would have to check it out one day.

Venetian Gardens is a city park in a cove off Lake Harris. It turned out to be quite nice.  Just inside the entrance is a large playground with a water-park for small children.  I didn’t get a good look, but I think it was mostly sprinklers and no water depth.  Good idea for the little ones.

We drove through the park and out the other side looking at the large older homes among gigantic live oaks on the lake front.  Then we turned around and parked in a parking area inside the park.  It is called Venetian Gardens because there are canals and bridges, a la Venice.

We followed the walkway along the big water.

The place is alive with water birds.

Reddish Egret

I was surprised to see an Anhinga.  I think of them as Everglades birds. That is not eggs under the wing; it is a pile of snail shells.

Anhinga

There were several bridges and islands among the canals.

The gap in the trees in the distance is the opening to the main body of Lake Harris.

Limpkin

Tricolored Heron

We found a nice bench overlooking the lake and that ended our walk, except to get back to the car.

Great White Egret

There are a good number of cypress trees in the park.

Cypress Trees

The bird we saw most often today was the Common Gallinule.  This bird is very dark, appearing black to me.  I thought it was a Common Gallinule until I got it on the computer.  It is a Purple Gallinule.  I should have known by the white forehead.

Purple Gallinule

 

We’ll go back to Venetian Gardens again for future walks.