When you start the morning with images like in my last post, you smile widely knowing that the first 20 images on your card were well worth the early morning wakeup! But there was much left to see after the magical sunrise.
I had hardly finished photographing the egrets when I heard the mocking call of a Belted Kingfisher. We started our usual game – I approached, he flew, I approached again, he flew again. Finally he let me snap a few quick shots before he spied his breakfast!
The white birds are starting to put on their breeding plumage. Their long lacy feathers are gorgeous, especially at sunrise. It won’t be long before this Snowy Egret’s lores turn a deep red and he focuses on finding a mate.
You can’t go to Orlando Wetlands without seeing at least one vulture. On this particular morning, each tree in the rookery area was being guarded by a vulture, most of them with wings spread. This one below surprised me when I found him perched on the edge of the boardwalk. He had a soft, pretty background and I couldn’t resist a photo – even if he does have a face that only a mother could love!
I heard a big song coming from the reeds, and I knew exactly which small bird was playing hide and seek with me! This is a Marsh Wren. He’s a winter visitor to Florida.
As I circled around for my second pass along the boardwalk, I came across this Eastern Phoebe. He must have taken lessons from the Belted Kingfisher – he was very good at flying just as I got close enough to take his picture! I liked this one in the cattails, with the soft sunny background of the reeds behind him.
I was about to enter the boardwalk again when I spotted this Osprey in a nearby tree. He seemed to be biting at his foot (he reminded me of a certain cat who was almost certainly zonked on my couch at that hour!) He was fun to photograph as he spread his feathers wide.
All morning the Black-bellied Whistling-ducks were taunting me. They’d whistle and fly to me, but stay low to the ground where I couldn’t get good shots. So I was happy to see a couple of ducks hanging out on the edge of the boardwalk. I love how their feathers glisten in the sunlight. I managed a quick head shot before the birds were startled by a passing group of people.
There was a small group of Tree Swallows circling overhead. They are fast fliers and such a challenge to photograph in flight! This was my best flight shot of the morning. Look at the glimmer in the blue feathers!
After that, the sun was pretty high in the sky. I hiked a lot, saying hello to the eagles in their nest. Finally it was time to leave, and I was happy knowing that was just the first of many trips to Orlando Wetlands for 2024. :)
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!