You can’t go to Lake Apopka and photograph just Least Bitterns, even if your primary subjects are three tiny Least Bittern babies. You notice a lot when you sit in one place for a long time.
To give context to this post, this is where I sat for those wonderful three mornings. After my gorgeous Saharan Dust sunrise, I returned for sunrise the next morning, but the cloud cover was too great. See the little island of cattails in the foreground on the left? That’s the home of my Least Bittern family!
I spent a good part of those mornings with a 2x teleconverter on my Beast, which let me see far off into the marsh. I’ve seen postings of baby American Coots on eBird, and I finally spotted one of the juveniles. It’s fun to see evidence that the coots do nest here in Central Florida. When I showed Rich this photo, he said, “hey, you found your Cooties!”
The Coots weren’t the only ones with babies. A pair of Fulvous Whistling-ducks took their family of babies for a swim. Look at them all, with their ducks in a row!
I looked for them the next morning, and I didn’t find the little guys. Instead I found a family of juvenile Fulvous ducks splashing in the distance. The adults were on watch, chasing away any other ducks that flew into the general area.
A Black-crowned Night Heron in breeding plumage foraged on the edge of the canal. Look at that bright red eye!
A Tricolored Heron flew in next to the night heron. He was so close that I got a great head shot. He didn’t stay long – he flew off to find breakfast!
Nearby, a Green Heron was on high alert, watching for fish in the water. These birds are so stealthy and patient as they watch for their opportunity to pounce. He was rewarded for his patience with a tasty snack!
A Least Bittern male flew out from the marsh grasses. I think this is the father of my little babies.
On my way out, I saw this Downy Woodpecker near the parking area. I spotted a pair of Great-crested Flcyatchers, too, but they weren’t quite so cooperative for my camera!
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!