My first afternoon visit to the Orlando Wetlands boardwalk was pure magic. I hope you like the color pink! The Roseate Spoonbills are nesting at the wetlands in an island of trees surrounded by stumps. Black Vultures stand guard at the tops of the trees, and the Spoonies vie for the remaining perches. It’s a bird flight photography paradise!
This was a visit at the very beginning of March. Nesting was well underway. I didn’t see or hear any chicks yet. Nest construction was a high priority in the early hours of the afternoon.
Sometimes after you bring in a lot of sticks, you just need a rest! Luckily there are lots of high branches that serve as perches for these beautiful birds.
As the sun dropped in the sky, the birds emerged from their nests to stretch their wings. That’s when the game of musical trees really started. It was the perfect combination of golden light, perfect wind angle, and energetic subjects.
Note the difference in the light quality between the spoonie above and the very first one in the post. The first image was taken at 4:45. This image was taken at 5:45. Sunset that evening was around 6:30 that evening. What a difference an hour makes!
This spoonie almost seemed to grin for my camera after chasing a different bird away from his perch!
The Black Vultures had been hanging out in this tree all afternoon. The spoonies came in with a rush of flapping wings…and evicted the previous tenants!
Here a vulture is indignantly displaced by a spoonbill. Vulture take-offs are far less graceful than spoonbill landings!
“I didn’t do it!” says this adult male. “I have the wings of an angel!”
The poses of these birds make me laugh. “Excuse me, I like your perch, will you please leave?” The poor juvenile spoonie on the left is no match for the adult spoonie on the right!
Here we have the triumphant pose of the victor of the palm tree. His feathers gleam in the beautiful golden light as he claims his rightful throne.
With all the commotion came amazing opportunities for flight shots. The sky was full of golden-pink feathers and my camera shutter was going nonstop!
Here the bird was coming in for a landing on the Vulture Tree. If I remember correctly, this bird landed politely without chasing off any others.
…or maybe he did chase off a sleeping vulture after all!
Stay tuned for more springtime bird photography fun from Orlando’s Wildlife Playground! :)
Want to learn more about nature photography at Orlando Wetlands Park?
Check out my Orlando Wetlands Park 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!
Your last sentence sums things up perfectly: “Orlando’s Wildlife Playground”!
And to think, I drive right past Mouse World to get there.
Outstanding photographs! You’ve given me ideas for the next visit. My first time I was so overwhelmed with the activity I just went into reflexive “point, shoot, repeat” mode.