When Michael Libbe and I headed out to Orlando Wetlands Park in late October, we had two goals: to photograph a great sunrise and a Vermilion Flycatcher. Michael ordered some nice wispy clouds for sunrise, and he sorta got his wish. I love being at the wetlands for sunrise, but I’m always annoyed at my pictures because there is so much clutter in the water and in the foreground. I tried framing the sunrise vertically and horizontally, and we both walked back and forth across the path, trying to find the best angle. This was my favorite shot.
After the sunrise, we walked to the back of the park where the Vermilion Flycatcher has returned for the third year in a row. The Vermilion is a rare bird in Florida. If you ask the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, their records show that he lives out west, from California to Texas. So it’s noteworthy that this bird seems to return to Orlando Wetlands each year. He likes to hang out far away in the cypress trees, so Michael and I set up our tripods to wait him out. He mocked us, darting from his branch to the water and back again, over and over again. We encouraged him to come closer. We begged him to come closer! But for the longest time, this was the best shot we got:
See those trees in the distance on the left side? That’s where he was!
Finally he took pity on the poor lunatics out in the sun. He flew in to the tree on the right, still far away but significantly closer. He perched for a few minutes on the top of a branch, watching all the time for bugs. Occasionally he’d fly out, grab a bug, and return to his branch. I tried my 1.4x teleconverter, my 2x teleconverter, and both teleconverters stacked. My best shot was with just the 1.4x teleconverter. The image quality of the rest of the images was too poor. So here’s my highly cropped Vermilion Flycatcher, which is a lot less fuzzy than last year’s attempt!
Orlando Wetlands Park will be closing soon (November 15) for the winter. It won’t reopen till February. So if you want to get out to see the Vermilion Flycatcher, you’d better hurry!
Want to learn more about nature photography at Orlando Wetlands Park?
Check out my Orlando Wetlands Park page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!