Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive

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.

SkyWatch Friday

Birds at Lettuce Lake Park

Usual birds at Lettuce Lake Park in north Tampa.

A rare bird you only see soaring high in the sky in the summer, two swallow-tail kites were cruising by while I was on top of the observation tower. One looked like he had something in his claws.

It looked like it was part of a duck or maybe a baby bird. These guys snatch baby birds right out of a nest. They eat while they are soaring, mostly dragonflies though.

A cute black bellied whistling duck cruised by as well.

I stopped by the teeny tiny golf ball size hummingbird nest before leaving the park. At first the almost grown baby was sitting alone on the nest. Then mom flew in to feed it.

Two parks in one morning.

A starling peeking out of what was probably a former woodpecker nest.

Thanks to Ken at Rosyfinch Ramblings for the ID on the above Orange crowned warbler. A first for me.

Little birds at Hammock Park.

A small wood stork party at Possum Branch Preserve.

Typical great egret shot but I noticed after I cropped it up that he’s missing part of his upper beak.

I started out at Hammock Park, a small park in Dunedin that I had not been before. After walking around for an hour and seeing very little, I left there and stopped at Possum Branch Preserve for a walk before heading home.

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