An incredibly brave Roseate Spoonbill greeted me as I returned to the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive on Sunday. This beautiful bird has been hanging out at the Lust Road gate for a couple of weeks now. He’s the local celebrity who stops traffic as drivers grab their cameras. He spends a good bit of his time at the edge of the canal, with his beak covered in green algae. He did me a favor and hopped up on a fence to preen, giving me a gorgeous green background for this image.
After a few days of wind and rain, I was ready to get out with the camera – even if it meant braving the weekend crowds. I opted to walk instead of drive, though. I headed up to the Crazy U area. On my way, I spotted this drake Blue-winged Teal swimming in the rippling water that reflected the golden and green tones of the nearby vegetation.
I ran into a few old friends – some human friends, and other friends with feathers. I chatted with the people as we watched for the feathered friends to emerge from the vegetation. A family of Gray-headed Swamphens was foraging relatively near the road. One of the babies called repeatedly. The adults would come out briefly, then dart back into the reeds. Finally I got a few good shots.
It was a good morning for Northern Harriers. Several female harriers rode the breeze and soared over the edge of the marsh. A few of them came close enough to the road for some decent shots.
As I headed back to my car, I noticed a bird flying in with a fish in its mouth. The Double-crested Cormorant landed in the water and triumphantly showed his prize – a big catfish. It was a pretty big fish, and I wondered how he would manage to get it down. A few seconds later, he disappeared under the water. He stayed under for about thirty seconds and then emerged with a limp fish, so I guess the bird won!
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!