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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I love the bright colors of the Yellow Warblers. They are one of the easier migrant warblers to find and photograph.
The Blackpoll Warblers are among the last to move through Florida. A couple of females were in the flock this morning.
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!