Summer Morning at the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive

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In mid-May I woke up early and decided to head up to the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. Baby birds are hatching all over the wetlands. You never know what you might see!

The morning started with a cool breeze and a bit of a misty sunrise. A flock of white birds (egrets and the odd heron) were fishing in the shallow ponds. There were few clouds in the sky as the sun peeked over the horizon.

Sunrise at LAWD
Sunrise at LAWD

Off in the distance I spotted a Fulvous Whistling-duck. I’m so used to seeing them at LAWD that I forget that I used to consider them a rare species! I looked carefully nearby to see if there was a young family accompanying the two adults. Not that morning. But I’m going to see the babies one day! :)

Fulvous Whistling-duck
Fulvous Whistling-duck

A Green Heron flew by and perched on a trunk literally right outside my window. My Beast was waaaay too much lens. The heron was unusually cooperative. He didn’t bolt as I put my intermediate telephoto on the camera and then took his portrait.

Green Heron
Green Heron

Baby Common Gallinules are all over the place at Lake Apopka! These tiny babies are so ugly that they are cute. My friend Dina says they look like aliens. I can definitely see the resemblance…

Common Gallinule Chick
Com. mon Gallinule Chick

It was such a gorgeous morning. I pulled out my landscape lens again to photograph the clouds that puffed over the marsh. A little HDR makes this image just as blue as it was in real life.

The Beauty of LAWD
The Beauty of LAWD

I heard the familiar chips of Pied-billed Grebe chicks, and I spotted this little family off in some distant reeds. The two babies were already pretty big, but they still begged for food as persistently as when they were hatchlings. Of course they had to be a branch in the way. It’s the law of nature photography.

Pied-billed Grebe Family
Pied-billed Grebe Family

Further down the road I spotted another Green Heron. This one was sporting a rather outrageous hairstyle!

Green Heron with a Hairdo!
Green Heron with a Hairdo!

All over the wetlands, I was seeing Least Bitterns fly back and forth. These tiny birds are such fun to watch. They roll their tails in circles as they concentrate on the water below, searching for food. I finally found a Least Bittern nice and close to the road. He posed for me and then flew.

Juvenile Least Bittern
Juvenile Least Bittern

My last bird of the morning was a Barn Swallow. I found a single juvenile bird and lots of adults flying around. I’m looking forward to seeing crowds of babies lined up waiting for Mom to feed them!

Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow

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!

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