Beyond the BackyardLake Apopka

Another Summer Morning on LAWD

Another weekend morning, another opportunity to visit the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive (LAWD).  Even in the heat of summer, the variety of birds is pretty impressive.

Common Gallinule and Baby
Common Gallinule and Baby

This Common Gallinule family was fun to watch.  There were two baby “aliens” and a couple of juveniles.  Mom stayed busy feeding the babies.  After watching a Common Gallinule family on their nest a few weeks before, I think I was more aware of the interactions between the babies and their older sibling (previous clutch).  The “baby-sitter” alternated between feeding himself and feeding the babies.

Green Heron
Green Heron

Deep, deep in the reeds I noticed a juvenile Green Heron.  I positioned myself to photograph through a tiny “window” in the foreground vegetation.  The result was a photo with a strong green cast.  I like how the reeds frame the bird.  It shows how well the heron blends into his environment.

Juvenile Least Bittern Head Shot
Juvenile Least Bittern Head Shot

Speaking of blending in, I found this juvenile Least Bittern sitting straight up in the reeds.  I almost drove right past him because he blended in so well. I sat and watched him for a while, and he hopped closer and closer.  Look at the white down on his head.  He won’t have that juvenile look for long.

Red-winged Blackbird Song
Red-winged Blackbird Song

You can’t visit LAWD without photographing a Red-winged Blackbird (well, at least I can’t).  During the nesting season, the males spend much of their time perched above their nests, singing and defending the territory.  Meanwhile, Mom gets to deal with the fussy babies.  Like these two juveniles who were branching in some tall grasses…

Juvenile Red-winged Blackbirds
Juvenile Red-winged Blackbirds

It had been a while since I’d seen a White-winged Dove perched nicely out in the open on Laughlin Road.  This one didn’t mind having his picture taken.  His feathers are gleaming in the morning sunlight and you can see his iridescent patch under his neck.

White-winged Dove
White-winged Dove

It was one of those mornings when I was going slow and just enjoying being immersed in nature.  I started to notice the hundreds of dragonflies perched in the reeds.  Then I started photographing dragonflies (wishing that I had stuck my extension tubes in my bag that morning!). Then I came across this pair of dragonflies.  I think there are more dragonflies on the way!

Dragonflies
Dragonflies

Finally out on Laughlin I came across a second Green Heron.  This one was sitting low over the water, fishing.  He stretched his neck out and only his eyes moved…until pounce! He dove for the fish.  I caught the tail end of the action sequence.  A fun way to end a fun drive!

Green Heron on Alert
Green Heron on Alert

2 thoughts on “Another Summer Morning on LAWD

  1. I really enjoyed “driving” along with you! Terrific shots, all, but love that young Least Bittern! It’s easy to overlook those guys.

    Is that a great place to spend a morning or what!

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