When I arrived at the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive in mid-July, I was greeted with the happy song of an Indigo Bunting. “Sweet! Sweet! Sweeter, Sweeter!” I paused and looked around for the singer. He flew up to a treetop to wave at me…
A few seconds later, he was chasing a little brown bird. I wondered if it might be his girlfriend. I had been watching him sing in this same location for several weeks, so it’s possible that he’s breeding. But then I got a look at the little brown bird, and it was a female House Finch.
You know it’s going to be a good morning when it starts out like that!
I paused by the little island where my Least Bittern family grew up. My babies were nowhere to be seen. All grown up, I imagined they were off hunting for breakfast. A little further down the road, I spotted one of their friends. She was showing off, flying with a fish in her mouth!
My next bird was another show-off. This Tricolored Heron posed in the soft morning light. I think he was sticking his tongue out at me. Rude!
There were a lot of baby Common Gallinules that morning. They have several clutches each summer, and I saw older chicks taking care of their younger siblings. Here, Mom helped her chick find some breakfast.
It’s been a great summer for Least Bitterns! I hope you’re not tired of watching their gymnastics. This one looked like he was falling off the balance beam, but he came up with a juicy fish!
I spotted a juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker at the top of a telephone pole. Something tells me that he grew up somewhere in that pole. He stood at the top, stretching his wings, and he seemed to be hoping for Mom to bring him some food.
My last Least Bittern of the morning was very close to my car. It was a juvenile, chattering regularly with another juvie nearby. He practiced his fishing, coming up with several tasty morsels, and then finally flew off.
The sod fields were sod ponds in a few places, and at least 50 Glossy Ibises were hanging out in the shallow water. A lone White Ibis looked out of place in between all the glossies. At the far end of the pool, I noticed a pair of Lesser Yellowlegs. Not a bad inland bird for July!
My last birds of the morning were possibly the cutest. I had seen a number of Common Ground Doves that morning, and as I made my way around the sod fields, I spotted several of them hanging out in a tree. This seemed to be a pair. They wished me well and hoped I’d visit again soon!
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!