P3010891 ADULT GALLINULE NESTING

Reinforcing nests…

“There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before.” – Robert Wilson Lynd

P3000434 PURPLE GALLINULE FORAGING FOR lotus while two immatures stretch and preen

Adult Purple Gallinule and Juvenile

With long yellow legs and exceptionally-long toes, the Purple Gallinule paints the wetlands’ landscape with its handsome presence. Quite skittish in most settings, this species has adjusted to the presence of humans in the nearby Parque la Vegas in Portoviejo Ecuador.  It joins a small cast of feathered occupants that claim this petite little man-made marsh not far from my apartment. (I suspect that it was built on earthquake rubble.)  For the past two weeks I have visited the ‘segua’ often to record the rapid growth of the newest generation of Purple Gallinules.

P3030331 PARQUE LAS VEGAS SEGUA

P3020237 june 9 baby gallinule big foot

Baby Gallinule, what big feet you have!

P3020177 june 9 baby gallinule foot detail

The better to scratch my itchy face with!

The new chicks provided a grand surprise when they made their appearance around the first of June, and I try to return often to record their growth. I’ve learned why sometimes the water lily leaves appear disturbed; the adults and juveniles search for and retrieve the sunken flower heads, fish them to the surface with their bills, break off the center then race while calling for the young ones to ‘Come eat!”

(Slideshow of Gallinules in perpetual motion!)

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The babies also nibbled on Water Hyacinth flowers throughout the day – between feedings of the ripening fruits.

P3010016 june 4 baby gallinule peering into water hyacinth flowerP3010008 june 4 baby gallinule with water hyacinth flowerP3020265 june 9 baby gallinule in a playground of flowersP3020244 BABY GALLINULE EATING WATER HYACINTH FLOWERS large file

A week later the adults began foraging for a second prized morsel: Crayfish – aka ‘crawfish’ to a Southern girl! It took several photo sessions before I could identify what small item the birds guarded in their bills. The babies race to the parent bird, which breaks the crawfish into bite-sized morsels and doles them out much like a priest at communion!

P3010782 ADULT AND CRAWFISHP3010781 YAY CRAWFISH FEASTP3010834 BABY GALLINULE WITH CRAWFISH

Perpetually busy, the adults and juveniles work throughout the day, ferrying an increasing supply to the growing chicks. I feel quite blessed to have permission to loiter and photograph the birds while the parque remains off limits to the general population.

P3000403 PURPLE GALLINULE FORAGING FOR CrP3000404 PURPLE GALLINULE FORAGING FORP3000420 PURPLE GALLINULE FORAGING FORP3000423 PURPLE GALLINULE FORAGING FOR LOTUS FLOWER HEAD

The subject of my recent pencil drawing needs no other preface!   I present to you, “Purple Gallinule Chicklets.”  For more images, go to the Instagram SIBLEYBIRDWATCHINGARTCONTEST.

00 PURPLE GALLINULE CHICKLETS 600 to 300 dpi CROPPED

The Chicklets – pencil

The babies are growing so fast that it’s time for a new portrait!  These photos were taken yesterday.  The chicklets are ‘growing’ into their big feet!

P3030092 BABY GALLINULE FLEXING WINGSP3030082 DETAIL BABY GALLINULE

 

P3030055 JUNE 12 TWO BABY GALLINULES WITH CHANGING PLUMAGE

Will be back tomorrow for long-neglected correspondence w WordPress supporters. Thanks again to all of you lovely friends!