Monday, September 07, 2015

Labor Day at Lake Apopka

Labor Day was upon us and I heard that the Lake Apopa North Shore Drive would be open as it is for Federal holidays. I asked my wife if she would like to go with me and she surprised me by saying, "Sure." Not easy to give up a morning to sleep in and we would have to be there by sunrise. Best time to bird, ya know.

We arrived right on time. I was expecting a line of vehicles since it was a holiday but I think we only counted 5 other cars during our entire trip. Weird. Also, kind of weird was the last time I came out it was one Osprey after another on the poles. Today they were replaced by Red-shouldered Hawks. Our first was calling like crazy as the Sun rose behind us.

Red-shouldered Hawk

A bit farther ahead we found another Red-shouldered Hawk. That thing resembling an emerging alien is the birds talon as it holds its leg close to itself.

Red-shouldered Hawk

A surprise awaited us on the first curve. A juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron posed in the morning light just perfectly.

Black-crowned Night Heron

Last month I hardly saw many Great Blue Herons. Today they were spaced every 500 yards!

Great Blue Heron

Our first American Alligator was lurking near the first heron.

American Alligator

We finally discovered one Osprey enjoying breakfast on the telephone poles but it was the only one of the day.


More American Alligators prowled the basin behind the pump house.

American Alligator

I almost missed the Bald Eagle sitting on the far side of the basin before we headed around the next bend.

Bald Eagle

All of last month's young Common Gallinules are reaching the teenage look.

Common Gallinule

I failed to get a shot of the numerous Green Herons flying by in July but we had one try to hide in plain sight next to the road today.

Green Heron

A young Red-shouldered Hawk was perched atop some bushes but was winding what the noise was below it. It was a Limpkin which disappeared into the shadows before a photo could be had.

Red-shouldered Hawk

There were a lot of Yellow and Prairie Warblers flying around feeding but this is the best I could capture as they were moving super fast in search of insects.

Prairie Warbler

I was anxious to get to the spot where all of the swallows were congregated on my previous visit. As we approached I thought I was spotting a Life Bird up on the wires. I have seen a couple of Bank Swallows (right) but never got a shot. To the left is a fluffy Barn Swallow told by the forked tail feathers.

Bank Swallow and Barn Swallow

The bird I was after I spotted through the windshield and managed to get one shot as the clouds moved in the cloak the scene. My first ever Cliff Swallow located center-right.

Cliff Swallow

A Shiny Blackbird has been here for a while but I forgot to try for a photo last time.

Shiny Blackbird

Among the swallows, I found a single Purple Martin in the group.

Purple Martin

Trying to be a little artsy with a silhouette of Swallows against the clouds.


One of Carolyn's favorite birds, a Glossy Ibis, perches along the roadside.

Glossy Ibis

Yet another Red-shouldered Hawk was at the end of the line sending us on our way home.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Not a bad drive on a quiet holiday. We will definitely be back. Maybe a little sleeping in in between, though.

No comments: