The morning I drove through Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive in late June the lake was full of wading birds. Great egrets, snowy egrets, great blue herons, little blue herons and lots of alligators. But only at the start of the long drive.
While most of the birds were far out on the lake, there wasn’t a lot of them close to the trails.
There were lots of gators close to the trails including the bottom one that I spotted when I got out of my car to take some pictures. At a place like this, I always look around first before snapping. He wasn’t really as close as this seems, I cropped it up. But it still felt close.
The clouds started moving in. There wasn’t a lot of wildlife in this wildlife park on this particular morning.
Above is a pano of one of the side drives that I took just to get away from the traffic. The only thing I saw was the alligator above with his head poking out of the weeds. Even though I was there early on a Friday morning, the main drive was backed up with cars. There are places to pull over every so often but people tend to block the drive instead of pulling off and getting out to walk around. Patience is an extreme virtue at this park especially when it’s a quiet morning and there’s not a lot of wildlife to take pictures of. I spent half the morning answering emails on my phone. I would just park and walk the entire drive but it’s 11 miles one way and you come out at the other side of the lake. So needless to say, this isn’t one of my favorite places although people who live close by and go frequently get a lot of great pictures. It’s more than an hour from my house so I only go once or twice a year.
Lots of brown thrashers were being seen in April. First 2 were taken at Chesnut Park and the bottom 2 were taken at Possum Branch Preserve later that morning. The video is a short one of the thrasher singing at the top of his lungs.
Other usual suspects at Chesnut Park.
The mulberries were ripe, waiting for the birds to come chow down in early April. I didn’t realize Possum Branch Preserve had so many mulberry trees along the trail. The birds eventually showed up in late April. More of that to come.
A small gator sleeping on the grass. I took this from across the pond.
The deer were hanging out on the baseball field early one Saturday morning in April when I drove into Chesnut Park. I sat on a picnic bench for a while watching them grazing. As more people headed into the park, the deer retreated further into the woods that runs behind the field.
Later, walking the back trails, I saw a few more deer.
It’s not often you can get up close to a bald eagle. Especially a juvenile one (the all brown one in the last shot). These eagles are all missing a wing and now live at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. They are in an open enclosure and just love to pose.
Pelicans were just starting to nest.
A night heron in the first shot. He crept up pretty close to me. The wild great blue herons were working on nests in the top of the trees over the alligator exhibit.
A burrowing owl trying to sleep.
Other animals were all just chilling out the morning I was there in early January. Lots of fun animals at the park. Unfortunately most are injured but have a home here at the park.