Last post from Florida - promise. But with weather here in Ohio cold, rainy/sleety, and dipping down in to the low 30's, it's time to regurgitate a few more photos from the Deep South, these of a most interesting animal.
A familiar silhouette in the Florida swamps - a long-tailed, long-necked, long-billed Anhinga.
Say, if you struggle with learning scientific names, and have always been dazzled by those propellerheaded techno-geeks that can spout them at the drop of a hat, this bird can be your entree to that rarified crowd. Anhinga. Scientific name: Anhinga anhinga.
Or you could dispense with Anhinga altogether. This bird has several other cool names. Darter. Snakebird. And a personal fave, the Water-turkey.
But Anhinga is a pretty cool name, with interesting roots. It hails from tribal Brazilian lingo and roughly means "devil bird". They'd know the bird well down there, too - like so many of Florida's southern specialty birds, the Anhinga reaches its northern limits in the southernmost U.S. but ranges widely throughout South America.
Anhingas are excellent flyers, and can soar high aloft every bit as effortlessly as eagles. Sometimes they'll catch thermals and swirl skyward until they're just tiny specks. Every now and again, an especially exploratory Anhinga will venture way to the north of where they ought to be. One was seen in Ohio way back in 1885, along the Ohio River near Marietta. That stood as a remarkable record for over a century, until Judy Semroc photographed another Anhinga near Akron in 2006. And I don't think we've seen the last of these odd water-turkeys.