Hearing that there’s a new boardwalk at the Orlando Wetlands Park motivated me to fight traffic and go visit. Oh my gosh! They did a great job. You walk past the new nature center building, enter the boardwalk, and it winds you through the cypress wetlands that were previously inaccessible. I think I might have to fight traffic more often!
I’ve always enjoyed Orlando Wetlands for sunrise shots, and this morning was no exception. It was a partly cloudy morning. I got there a few minutes before sunrise, and snapped a few shots on my way to the boardwalk.
The black specks in the sky are Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. There were hundreds of them congregated in the swamps. I love to listen to their happy calls! On my next visit, I’m going to have to find a good position to photograph them in flight.
I got to the boardwalk just as the sun peeked out over the horizon. The boardwalk gives a new vantage point for getting dramatic shots of the sun rising through the trees. As usual, I bracketed my shots and post-processed them using HDR.
The wetlands were already getting crowded in advance of this weekend’s Orlando Wetlands Festival. Plus I think the vultures were having a convention of their own. I came across a clump of trees with a vulture on top of each tree. I liked this composition of a Turkey Vulture with his wings spread, backlit by the rising sun.
Birds nest in the cypress trees. It’s the right time of year for nest-building flight shots, like this Great Egret carrying a stick to enhance his nest. I think I heard the neh-neh-neh of babies in the distance.
The sun mostly hid behind the trees in the early morning, letting me shoot in all directions as I enjoyed the new trail. Then as the clouds dissipated, the sun illuminated the birds in flight. This Red-shouldered Hawk flew past me, let me focus, and obligingly looped back while getting a little closer. You can’t ask for a more cooperative bird!
It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to photograph a Wood Stork. These birds look positively prehistoric with their featherless wrinkled faces. This one glided silently over the wetlands with the glow of the grasses and trees behind him.
My favorite clowns of the morning were the American Coots. A group of coots, appropriately called a “commotion”, was clustered in front of the boardwalk. Every few minutes, a bird would spook and do their “walking on water” routine. These action shots are a fun challenge, and I was pleasantly surprised when I reviewed my images!
The new boardwalk gets an A from me – and wait, I haven’t even told you the best part yet! There’s a lot of pink coming in my next post… :)
Want to learn more about nature photography at Orlando Wetlands?
Check out my Orlando Wetlands 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!