This week we had the first day of summer, and what better way to celebrate than a visit to the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive (LAWD)? It’s been a while since I got out, and I savored every moment, although all I saw were “ordinary” birds. Lots of juveniles growing up, and a wading bird convention off Lust Road with lots of fishing egrets and ospreys.
There were tons of wading birds along the far end of Lust Road, past the Crazy U and almost at the pump house. The water level seems to be lower than I’ve seen it since Hurricane Irma re-shaped the wildlife drive. The water was full of fish, which attracted the birds. Dozens of Snowy Egrets, a few Great Blue Herons, and a half dozen Osprey spent the morning flying low and grabbing fish. I especially enjoyed watching the snowies, who looked like they walked on water as they pulled out minnow after minnow.
I stopped to listen the sounds of nesting wading birds in the distance, and then I noticed two Green Heron juveniles in the foreground. You can tell they are juvies with their disheveled feathers sticking straight up from their heads.
It was a good day for Green Herons. I saw them periodically throughout the drive. My favorite shot was taken on Laughlin by the bathrooms, where the bird was perched in some vegetation with some nice far-off greenery in the background. The bird gave me a good head angle for a second or two and then flew off in search of his breakfast.
Dozens of Barn Swallows met me in their usual nesting sites. I spotted a family of juveniles perched out on a branch. They seemed hungry, and one bird was definitely young enough that he still needed to be fed by Mom. I watched for a while, but Mom never came by with a bug. But the birds still gave me cute moments, every time a bird flew by close enough to make them beg!
My last bird of the morning was one I heard before I saw. “Sweet, sweet, sweeter, sweeter.” Along Lake Level Road, you can spot Indigo Buntings sitting in the tops of the pine trees singing their hearts out. It takes a long lens and a good crop, but they make a pretty picture!
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!
Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!