One of the nation’s most unique and rarest raptor is the Snail or Everglades Kite. This spectacular bird feeds only on the large apple snails found in the flooded prairies and marshes of the southern Florida. It is currently listed as an Endangered species and can be difficult to find, much less photograph in southern Florida. It should be noted that a substantial population, though a different subspecies, can be found in marshes throughout Central and South America.
There is one particular spot along the Tamiami Trail near Shark Valley that is fairly well known as the most reliable spot to see these striking birds. Over the past few days I have driven by it about a half dozen times and only seen birds twice. On Friday evening, not only was there a male present, he was hunting close to the road and would perch on a cypress to feed.
Separated by a canal, I couldn’t get any closer and this is a somewhat substantial crop, but is by far the best image I have of this species in flight. Snail in beak, sweet evening light, beautiful background, and a striking male bird. I couldn’t ask for anything more. A perfect ending to a long day.