I had a rare free afternoon and took my bike to Lake Apopka for some exercise. Mornings are really the best time for bird photography there, but I carried my camera in the hopes of seeing something good. I did! :)
It was supposed to be a sunny afternoon, but it turned out to be cloudy and a little breezy. I appreciated the breeze as I pedaled along! I made my way quickly to the lake, knowing that the sun would be at my back as I returned. Then this Northern Flicker hopped out into a tree not five feet away from me. He stared at me through a small hole in the leaves.
I saw a couple of pairs of Gray-headed Swamphen on that ride. This pair was fun as they posed side-by-side. Gray-headed Swamphens are an introduced species in Florida. They are more numerous in South Florida, and their range seems to be extending northward. I know they breed at Lake Apopka because I’ve photographed their babies in previous years.
Something startled the swamphens, and they flew off. I caught a couple of frames from the second bird’s flight. His big feet look so awkward as he lets them dangle beneath him.
The sun disappeared entirely for a while, and the soft light was pretty on the vegetation. This cluster struck me as particularly photogenic.
I found this Great Blue Heron nest. The adult was incubating but stood to turn the eggs. This nest would be gorgeous in golden afternoon light. I made a mental note to take my Beast and tripod on my next ride!
The sun took pity on me and came out as I began my return ride. These birds flew past and I snapped their picture without entirely realizing what I had. This image is special – it shows an adult Little Blue Heron (left) and an immature white-colored Little Blue Heron (right). It’s fun to see them both together!
My last image of the day was this Northern Shoveler, who paddled quietly and didn’t mind posing for the biking photographer. The sun cast its golden light on the reeds reflecting in the water behind him. A fun image to end a fun ride!
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!