On my last visit to Lake Apopka, I noticed a Great Blue Heron nest. It didn’t have chicks yet. So of course I had to go back the next week to see if there were babies. It’s an afternoon shoot so I took my bike. I got a few strange looks with my camera bag and tripod strapped to my back – but I zipped down to the lake in very little time. :)
On my way down to the lake, I found some cool birds.
I’ve never seen a Great Blue Heron wading like this. He was down in the water up to his stomach. Nearby an alligator floated by. Eventually the bird stood up and walked further down the canal. I guess he was trying to cool off.
This Great Egret was foraging for his supper in the canal. His beak still has a tint of the bright green breeding color. I waited for a few minutes, but he refused to give me a better head angle.
This Green Heron surprised me. I saw him land on this branch, and I got a few quick snaps before he flew off. What I didn’t see until I got the image on the computer was the dragonfly in his mouth. He grabbed it in mid-air and swallowed it before moving on to find more dinner morsels.
When I got down to the lake, the Great Blue Heron nest was quiet. Mom was sleeping on the nest. I watched it for a while, hoping for the nagging sounds of babies or a small head to stick up beside Mom. But Dad eventually flew in, and Mom stood up, and no babies showed themselves. So I’ll have to come back again!
Near the herons, an Anhinga couple was starting a nest. Dad flew in with a stick. Mom grabbed at it with her beak as if to say “Give it to me! You know nothing about building a nest.”
But Dad wouldn’t let go. They seemed to fight with it for a few minutes before eventually placing it together. It seemed to be the first stick of the nest. I love their faces together with those bright blue eyes as they work together to construct their nursery.
I watched these guys for a while. They repeated their little fight about each stick that came into the nest! Still they were quite gentle as they worked together. I hope they are equally patient when their nest is full of nagging hungry youngsters!
The appearance of rain on the horizon accelerated my ride back to the car. A wind came up, blowing against me as I rode. So I got some good exercise along with good photography! I already can’t wait to go back.
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!