Lots of little birds are growing up on the south shore of Lake Apopka! I headed to my favorite quiet morning place on Memorial Day and found some great birds.
When I first arrived, a female Least Bittern was fishing at the edge of the reeds. As I watched, a small alligator approached, sending the Common Gallinules into a fussing frenzy. The male Least Bittern popped out to see what was going on, confirming my suspicion that there’s probably some nesting going on in those reeds!
Remember the Purple Gallinule families from a few weeks ago? Well, the babies are growing up. One of the smallest black babies climbed out into the open and posed for the camera. Look at those big feet!
Some of his siblings have started to get their juvenile feathers already. The three siblings made a short appearance together. The biggest one was already sporting a light brown tummy.
The juvenile grackles were everywhere! Nagging juveniles chased Mamas through the air. The juvies are never going to learn to hunt for food themselves if the mothers keep feeding them…
When I heard the calls of Black-bellied Whistling-ducks, I quickly focused on the pair of whistlers that were flying past the lakeshore. I love their cheerful happy calls!
Next I heard the little chattering calls of the Purple Martins overhead. One of them kept darting out over the lake, then returning to the tree where they hang out. I suspect she was grabbing bugs in mid-air to take back to the kids.
The lady who feeds the birds every morning showed up, causing all the birds to go into a flying feeding frenzy. This Rock Pigeon’s feathers glistened beautifully as he flew in for breakfast.
Every once in a while, I noticed a Least Bittern emerge from the reeds and fly a short distance. I started trying to catch the flight shots. They were challenging. Not only are the Least Bitterns secretive, but they spend most of their time deep in the reeds. This was my best shot.
As the sun got high in the sky, I spotted an Osprey flying in with a fish from the lake. Of course he was flying against the sun. But I loved the open mouth of the fish, so I processed the photo in sepia tones to de-emphasize the harsh light. It was a great end to a fun visit!
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!
Great series of superb photographs! Really love those Least Bitterns.