Migrant Warblers at the Crazy U

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On a Saturday morning in late April, the Birdcast migrant forecast showed a good flow of migrants over Central Florida. I headed to the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive (LAWD), hoping to see some migrant warblers at the Crazy U. If you’re not familiar with LAWD, the Crazy U is a bend in Lust Road towards the beginning of the wildlife drive. There’s a patch of trees that seems to be attractive to the little birds. On this particular morning, I wasn’t disappointed. The trees were hopping with small birds who made a brief visit on their way north.

American Redstarts were flitting all over the place. These small birds move very quickly and are hard to photograph, especially as they dart in and out of the shadows and branches.

American Redstart (Male)
American Redstart (Male)

Black-and-white Warblers are usually found foraging on the trunks or big branches of trees. They don’t mind hanging out upside-down, like goldfinches. This one paused for a quick moment to look at my camera before continuing his hunt for breakfast.

Black-and-White Warbler
Black-and-White Warbler

I’ve only had a handful of opportunities to see Black-throated Blue Warblers. Although I’d seen a male before, I got to see my first female that morning.

Black-throated Blue Warbler (Male)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Male)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Female)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Female)

An Orchard Oriole made a brief appearance in the treetops. All cameras quickly pointed at him as he stood peering down, wondering what all the fuss was about.

Orchard Oriole (Male)
Orchard Oriole (Male)

The Palm Warblers that winter in Florida share with us their pale non-breeding feather colors. It’s fun to see them molt into their rich yellow and brown colors as spring advances. All the photographers would focus on this guy, sigh, and say “just a Palm.” Poor little bird, it’s not his fault that everybody already has dozens of pictures of his friends!

Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler

Prairie Warblers can be found in Florida pretty easily during the wintertime. This one was just starting to get his springtime plumage. His breeding plumage will be quick striking with the sharp contrast between black and yellow.

Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler

Northern Parulas were all over the place. A couple of them paused briefly in the treetops as they hunted for bugs. One seemed to think he was a hummingbird as he hovered to gain access to his prey.

Northern Parula
Northern Parula
Northern Parula
Northern Parula

I found at least one male and one female Common Yellowthroat moving with this mixed flock of warblers. One played peek-a-book with me through the tree leaves.

Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat (Male)

I love the bright colors of the Yellow Warblers. They are one of the easier migrant warblers to find and photograph.

Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warbler

The Blackpoll Warblers are among the last to move through Florida. A couple of females were in the flock this morning.

Blackpoll Warbler (Female)
Blackpoll Warbler (Female)

All in all, it was a great morning to enjoy the sunshine, chat with a few fellow photographers, and challenge myself to photograph as many flitting fliers as possible! :)

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!

8 thoughts on “Migrant Warblers at the Crazy U

  1. Well, SOMEbody has been busy lately!

    I just caught up on a couple of months’ of your blogs. WHEW! I’m exhausted. In a good way!

    Wasn’t able to get out much to chase migrants this spring, so thank you for letting me enjoy the warblers and others vicariously through your typically magnificent photographs!

    Just returned from a road trip to Texas and am wading through a bunch of images. Hope a couple are in focus …..

    Have a great week, Jess!

  2. Your blog is wonderful. I had just written about courtship feeding in Royal Terns on my blog, looked for some information about it on the web, and found your site. Continuous since 2004 — you’re an inspiration!

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