As much as I love the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, I feel like I miss a lot by driving through it. Partly because my attention is divided between bird-watching and controlling a moving vehicle, partly because I usually have a car behind me wanting to go faster. So on this particular morning, after chasing the Ash-throated Flycatcher for a little while, I took a little walk down Lust Road. It was great. I noticed so many little birds and appreciated the common birds more as I enjoyed them at a slower pace.
It’s been a while since I’ve noticed a Carolina Wren at LAWD. This one was calling loudly from these bushes. It’s amazing how such big sounds can come from such small birds!
Overhead you could hear the flocks of American Robins flying overhead. If you didn’t recognize their calls, you might not notice them in the air. Then a small group of them landed in the nearby treetops. Soon they will be leaving us for springtime in their northern homes.
As I walked, I heard the call of Bald Eagles. I looked up and squinted, locating the birds circling high over my head. First I saw a juvenile eagle, who was followed by several mature eagles. Two of the adults started to chase each other in mid-air.
Much closer to my camera were a number of Blue-winged Teal. Their feathers sparkled in the early morning light.
A Snowy Egret was stalking his breakfast, grabbing minnows from the water. He already has the lacy feathers of his breeding plumage. Pretty soon his yellow lore will be a beautiful red.
A Tri-colored Heron stood nearby, his bright red eye looking out for minnows. His feathers are also starting to look spiffy as we enter springtime, although he didn’t yet have the white plume on the back of his head.
I watched for the Gray-headed Swamphens at their usual spot before the Crazy U, and I didn’t see them. Lots of Common Gallinules and American Coots were carrying on, though!
At the Crazy U, the bare tree branches had started to leaf out. A couple of Palm Warblers flitted in the treetops. Then I spotted the Yellow Warbler who is spending the winter in Florida. He came very close to my camera, making me back up to take his picture.
On my walk back, I saw this Great Blue Heron in breeding plumage standing in the reeds. I liked how his breeding blues stood out as if he had coordinated with the bright blue water.
Next time I walk down Lust Road, I’ll probably head further down. It felt like a surprisingly short walk, and I got better light angles on the birds on the right side of the road. I look forward to more flight shots and nests as we enter breeding season!
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A fantastic series of images!
You echoed my sentiments exactly. I’ve now developed somewhat of a routine of parking at all the pullouts and walking up and down. It provides a much better perspective on potential subjects, more subjects can be spotted (including non-birds) and you don’t feel like you have to hurry up for that car that’s behind you which is apparently late for an appointment.
Of course, one must be careful to not get run over …