PurpleGall-20a.jpg (23111 bytes)Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica), Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge,Seneca Co., NY, 23 September and 12 October 2002.


All pictures were taken by my son Jay and me and are Kevin and Jay McGowan.  They were taken with an Olympus D-40 or an Olympus D-450 digital camera through a Swarovski HD-80 or Swarovski ATS-65 spotting scope.

Alternating between remaining invisible in the reeds and walking around about 20 feet away from the road, an immature Purple Gallinule was present along the main drive at Montezuma NWR from 20 September 2002 until well into October.    Many people saw it only from the roofs of their cars, as it spent most of its time behind a curtain of cattails. (It took me 5 tries to find it.)

It foraged in the lily pads and cattails of the main pool, and was observed eating dead fish.  (For a photo of that incident, go to Matt Victoria's digiscoping page.

Jay managed to see it on 23 September, and take some decent photos through the reeds with the old camera.  I saw it only on 12 October, and was able to get only one decent picture with the new camera in its brief showing.


PurpleGall-231a.jpg (49703 bytes) This shot was from 12 October; all the rest are from 23 September.  The bird appears to have gotten in some darker feathers in the weeks in New York.  The difference in lighting in the two days had some effect (overcast on the 12th), but the increase in blue on the wing is noticeable.

Notice the tan face and neck, the blue and green wings, the two-toned bill with a bluish frontal shield above, and the incredibly long yellow toes. 

A Common Moorhen would have a white stripe along its side, would be duskier overall, and would be lacking the colorful wings and frontal shield.

Notice here the pure white undertail coverts.   American Coot has dark undertail coverts, and Common Moorhen has white divided by a big black patch in the middle. PurpleGall-29a.jpg (26173 bytes)
PurpleGall-51a.jpg (23192 bytes) PurpleGall-57a.jpg (21989 bytes)
PurpleGall-53a.jpg (25439 bytes) Get a load of the size of the toes!  Its middle toe is longer than its tarsus.


PurpleGall-66a.jpg (28733 bytes) PurpleGall-68a.jpg (22422 bytes)
Jay got a shot of the gallinule engaging in a characteristic foraging method, that of turning over the lily pads to catch things underneath.


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Revised: October 14, 2002.