I first photographed the Ash-throated Flycatcher at Lust Road in January 2017. The bird returns every year to the same canal at the beginning of the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive (LAWD). Take a look at his range map and you’ll see that, like most of our rarities this winter, this bird is supposed to be out west. Yet one individual (likely the same bird) comes to the same spot in Florida every year. Bird migration is a fun enigma – if only we could ask the birds questions, I think mine would be “Why?”
Well, as his name indicates, this bird is a flycatcher. Birds in the flycatcher family (including our more common winter visitor the Eastern Phoebe) tend to perch on the tops of tree branches, using them as a lookout for spotting bugs. When the flycatcher sees an insect, it darts out, grabs the prey in mid-air, then returns to his perch to eat. On this particular morning in early January, the Ash-throated was doing just that. It made for fun photography as I chased the bird up and down the canal!
So the moral of the story is, if you’re chasing a flycatcher, be prepared to move quickly to keep up with it! Later in the morning, I saw birders trying to spot this rarity. Be patient and watch for an erratic darter – then wait for him to come within range of your camera and enjoy! :)
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!