My dad and I decided to spend the morning at Lake Parker Park in Lakeland about two weekends ago. We’ve seen incredible photos of Purple Gallinules and Snail Kites taken there. We certainly saw plenty of Purple Gallinules! They are as friendly as the ducks at Lake Morton. I think people feed them. It’s convenient when they come super-close for head shots!
We got there at sunrise, only to realize that Lake Parker is really an afternoon photography spot. We were shooting straight into the sun when we looked out over the lake. So we headed around the park’s trails in search of other birds. We heard a family of Great-crested Flycatchers in the treetops near one parking lot. Then we found a family of Northern Parulas. It’s the first time I’ve seen juvenile paroles.
Back out by the lake, several Limpkins were feasting on apple snails for breakfast. I heard the persistent nagging call of a baby Limpkin, but I couldn’t find any small brown fuzzballs. Then I realized that the calls were coming from an almost-fully-grown juvenile bird. Mom had an apple snail and the juvie was begging for a few bites. He ended up taking most of the snail!
After the sun came up, the light was just beautiful on the Purple Gallinules. There were a bunch of adults and several juvenile birds. They were wading in the puddles left by the previous night’s rain. The water was still and their reflections were pretty. This juvenile appears to be peering at himself.
I laid down in the grass to get a better angle on these pretty birds. One adult strutted across the park. He paused to peer at a blade of grass. It looks like he is counting the mosquitos on it!
It was still early when we finished at Lake Parker, so we made an impromptu stop at Lake Morton. More on that in the next post!
Want to learn more about nature photography at Lake Parker Park?
Check out my Lake Parker 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!