Yesterday there was a decided chill in the air as the overnight temperatures dipped into the 60s. Yes, by Florida standards, that is a hint of fall. I grinned with delight as I pedaled down Lust Road on my bike. The sparkle of dawn, no cars on the drive, and the chatter of awakening birds – who could want a better start to the day?
The fall birds are coming back! This little Yellow Warbler played peek-a-boo with me, hiding in the vegetation and then periodically showing himself. Then he darted out in full sight to hunt for a bug.
Yellow seemed to be the color of the day. The marshes were cheerfully decorated with yellow flowers, as if they too are welcoming a Florida fall. The golden light of the sun was soft around yellow birds, like the Common Yellowthroats who seemed to be everywhere.
I spent a while at the Crazy U, checking the trees there for migrant warblers. Little birds darted in and out of the branches, including this White-eyed Vireo who seemed rather curious about the silly person on a bicycle.
An Eastern Towhee appeared and reminded me to “Drink my tea!” (That’s really what his call sounds like!) I only had a water bottle with me, but he said that was just as good. While I hear towhees on the drive regularly, it’s been a while since I’ve seen one. His yellow eye followed the color trend of the morning.
Tiny Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are year-round residents in Central Florida, but they are much easier to spot in the cooler months. I spotted several darting over the bushes, chasing both each other and the bugs destined to become their breakfasts. This little guy posed next to a spider web and then devoured a small insect.
Far off in the fields, I spotted a Red-shouldered Hawk. He was near a flock of Red-winged Blackbirds who were attacking him mercilessly. Frankly he didn’t seem interested in causing trouble, but the red-wings didn’t believe it. Finally the hawk gave up and flew farther away.
Chip! Chip! The calls of Palm Warblers made me smile as I welcomed back the first of fall migrants. In a few weeks, all the photographers will be complaining “just another palm!” But in this first week of cool weather, all northern visitors are a welcome novelty (even the coots!)
Mrrow!!! My first of fall Gray Catbird spotted me and reminded me to go home and feed my gray cat. Squirt said that was very good advice indeed!
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!