The Finest of Embroidery

An excerpt from naturalist Bradford Torrey’s 1895 book, A Florida Sketch-Book:

Anhinga “Water Turkey”;Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 4, 2017. © Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at

“We were at that moment approaching a bird about which I felt a stronger curiosity,—a snake-bird, or water-turkey, sitting in a willow shrub at the further end of the bay. ‘Pull me as near it as it will let us come,’ I said. ‘I want to see as much of it as possible.’ At every rod or two I stopped the boat and put up my glasses, till we were within perhaps sixty feet of the bird. Then it took wing, but instead of flying away went sweeping about us. On getting round to the willows again it made as if it would alight, uttering at the same time some faint ejaculations, like ‘Ah! Ah! Ah!’ but it kept on for a second sweep of the circle. Then it perched in its old place, but faced us a little less directly, so that I could see the beautiful silver tracery of its wings, like the finest of embroidery, as I thought.”

iNaturalist observation:


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