I almost didn’t go anywhere that morning. There was dense fog in the forecast, and I wasn’t sure I’d have any light. But I woke up early with a desire to do some weight-lifting (i.e. carry the Beast on a long trek!) and so I headed out. I wasn’t disappointed. The scene you see above met me as I entered the small park. The rising sun shone through the fog and glittered in the water droplets on all the leaves and grasses. It was really pretty. The image above is an HDR composite of three exposures.
This park is scrub habitat and it attracts lots of sparrows. If you recall from my sparrow adventures last year, I have a habit of finding fun sparrows on chain link fences. This Grasshopper Sparrow took pity on me. He hopped out onto a nice open branch and posed in the beautiful morning light. I spotted him from a distance and crept closer and closer, photographing him as I moved. He let me get very close.
I was definitely not expecting this bird. This is my lifer Clay-colored Sparrow. Clay-colored Sparrows are pretty rare in Central Florida. They frequent the midwest, from their breeding grounds in southern Canada to their winter territory in Mexico. Last year a Clay-colored Sparrow visited Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive and I didn’t get to see it. So you can imagine my surprise when I was watching for Grasshopper Sparrows and a Clay-colored hopped out in front of my lens instead. It was nice – instead of the normal crowds of onlookers who usually surround a rare bird, I got to enjoy him quietly for a few seconds before he disappeared into the trees. :)
A Red-bellied Woodpecker hopped out onto a tree trunk and showed off his red belly. It’s not often you see the red belly that gives these birds their name. The bird grabbed a seed that the park rangers scatter on the tree trunk and flew off.
I sat for a while longer at the bird “feeder.” I was expecting the woodpecker to come back. Instead, a Pine Warbler hopped out and posed for the camera. Nice! I sat watching him, listening to the calls of the Eastern Phoebes and the American Goldfinches. Yep, it’s almost winter!
Want to learn more about nature photography at PEAR Park?
Check out my PEAR 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!