You know it’s a slow summer morning at Lake Apopka when you end up photographing the Great Blue Heron at the lake! The excitement of the pump house pond waned at last. The pond was still full of gators, but they lazed quietly in the water. The birds, too, flew over the pond without stopping to circle or swoop for fish. So I drove on…
I did spot a coot by the pump house. People laugh at me when I look forward to the arrival of the coots each fall. To me their arrival signifies the beginning of fall migration. This was just a lone coot, though, one of the few that spend the summer in the Florida heat. He told me that he’s looking forward to the return of his friends.
An Anhinga was perched on some nearby branches, savoring a huge fish. He tossed it in the air, maneuvering it with his beak. The fish seemed as big as the Anhinga’s body! Finally the bird seemed to realize that he was fighting a losing battle. He dropped the fish and went to find one that he could actually eat.
It was a slow morning. I didn’t take many morning pictures until I was almost on Interceptor Road. There I found the Barn Swallows around their usual spot. It’s been such fun watching the babies grow up there this summer. On this particular morning, instead of hungry mouths lined up to greet Mom, I found a flock of adults and juveniles perching in…<gasp!>…pretty vegetation instead of dead branches!
One swallow sat by himself, and a flash of wings made me realize that he was still being fed by Mom. He seemed to be the only one. It took 20-30 minutes of waiting, and several visits from Mom, before I got the feeding shot…and it was spectacular!
After the swallows left, I moved on. The Interceptor pond these days is covered in vegetation. It wasn’t so long ago that I spotted a late Red-breasted Merganser at the end of spring migration. Now the juvenile wading birds gather there on a sea of green leaves.
The tiny Black-necked Stilts have grown up. I spotted a family of five stilts flying over Interceptor. It won’t be long before they leave Florida for the winter.
As I left, Forky was on the power lines by the sod fields. I got a few pictures before he flew off. He actually flew to the morning-light side of the road, but then he disappeared in a large tree. I stood watching and waiting for some time, but he didn’t re-appear. Maybe he was afraid of the Beast! ;-)
Find my birding list from today on eBird.
Want to learn more about nature photography at Lake Apopka?
Check out my Lake Apopka 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!
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