The Limpkin

For charting our travels on the St Johns River, we use “The St Johns River Boating Cruising Guide”, by Tom Krantz.. It covers the river and many of it’s tributaries, from Jacksonville, FL to Lake Harney, S of Sanford, FL.  Our bigger chart book also covers this area but the guide has a lot of information, including suggested anchorages.  One of the birds he mentions is the Limpkin. He refers to it as the “Elusive Limpkin”.

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Is this the Ostrich look?  They stick their head underwater looking for muscles.  When it finds one , they bring it ashore, stick it in the mud and open the shell. We watched while one found and ate 5 or 6 muscles, within a short time. None of the shells were broken. 5.13.09 072cs You can see a drop of water just falling off it’s beak.

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When you first spot this bird wading near shore, it doesn’t really catch your eye. No pretty colors or flashy looks. But look closely at these pictures. It is really quite striking.5.13.09 075c

I have been trying to photograph one but never got close enough. I was up at daylight and rowed the dingy ashore to walk our little dog, Raisin, and this one kindly strolled by and let me take a bunch of pictures. I thought immediately of my good friend, Diane. She and Larry spent part of the winter on their boat, cruising with us on the St Johns River. They made many a “U” turn so she could see her favorite bird, the Limpkin.5.13.09 076cs

From a distance it just looks like a speckled bird.  Look closely at the white feathers. They look like little white flags.

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The more I look at the photos, the more beautiful it becomes.

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It strolled in and out of the fallen tree, hopped upon it and over it.5.13.09 086cs

The long toes makes it possible to walk on floating water plants. 

I cropped this from one of the photos so you could have a closer look.

Isn’t beautiful?!!

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So if you see a large brown speckled bird wading near shore, slow down, take a closer look. It just might be the “Elusive” Limpkin Tom Krantz talks about in his river guide.

1 comment:

  1. You're right, he is a beautiful bird! You certainly got some wonderful closeups of him. I enjoyed this post very much as I had never heard of this bird before, and my bird book shows the range as mainly in Florida.