Flight Shots around Lake Apopka

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On the morning that I photographed the purple pole vaulters, I also enjoyed lots of flight shot opportunities with birds from the south side of Lake Apopka. It was one of those mornings that an intermediate telephoto lens was just perfect. You never know when a pair of Black-bellied Whistling-ducks will fly by!

Black-bellied Whistling-ducks
Black-bellied Whistling-ducks

The Rock Pigeons that showed up in Whiskey’s backyard must be friends with the pigeons near the lake. Or maybe the pigeons are big fans of the lady that brings them bread every morning. As soon as she showed up, birds started flocking in.

Rock Pigeon
Rock Pigeon

This Osprey wasn’t interested in the free food. He spent a good part of the morning in the Snail Kite’s tree. Then his buddy showed up and they fought over who got to perch in the tallest part of the cypress tree. There was much screeching involved.

Osprey
Osprey

Sometimes it’s about being in the right place at the right time. I’d been out on the dock looking for the snail kite. I headed back towards my car, turned around, and whoosh! this Red-shouldered Hawk flew by.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

The alligator flags were pull of Purple Gallinules and juvenile grackles. Everybody was calling and the marshes echoed with the bird sounds. The loudest birds were the juvies, who didn’t seem to realize how scruffy they look in their summer molt!

Grackle
Grackle – who’s the scruffy one?

I wandered back out on the dock. At the end, a pair of Tricolored Herons were playing Musical Railings. It was an adult and a juvie heron. The adult swooped in to scare off the juvie, who flew in a big circle and perched on the opposite end of the dock. Then the adult chased him off again. And again. Finally both of them took off.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron with his landing gear ready

Finally I caught a glimpse of the Snail Kite. She flew in close, at one point flying straight towards my camera lens. She didn’t have an apple snail with her, but she showed off her sharp beak that’s specially curved to help her extract snails from their shells.

Snail Kite
Snail Kite

The Snail Kite headed out to the lake and I headed back to my air-conditioned car. You know you’ve had a good morning when you’re already thinking about going back! :)

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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