Everyone was eating breakfast at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive in late October.
A great blue heron off in the distance.
A young purple gallinule showing off his big feet.
A kingfisher sitting still. I took this from the car since I knew the second I opened that door he would be gone.
A tricolored heron guarding the sign.
A few of the smaller gators along the drive. I never seem to see the really big ones there.
More along the drive. I was having hip pain in late October so I decided to head over to the wildlife drive in Apopka and stay off me feet for a while. I ended up with hip bursitis which has slowed me down for a while in early November. It was taking forever to heal since I can’t seem to sit still very long.
I rarely see baby purple gallinules. They are very skittish. I caught this little one running in between the reeds. Look at those big yellow feet!
The parents were close by.
Two juvenile common gallinules (or moorhens) hanging out.
The only birds I saw along the drive were common ones.
Turkey vultures are also common along the drive but it’s not often you get to see one up close and with a snack.
Young tree swallows perching on the utility wire. It’s rare to see these guys resting.
Another common site along the drive, an anhinga with a fish.
A beautiful morning to be out.
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.
The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is an 11 mile drive along a lake north of Orlando. The weekend Brett and I stayed in Orlando, we got up early and drove through the area before heading back to Tampa. The 11 miles zig zags back and forth with channels running on either side.
The first things we say were birds of prey. A northern harrier, a young red shoulder hawk and a kestrel right when we drove in.
A great egret fighting with a snake.
Fulvous whistling ducks were far out in the lake.
Alligators of all sizes were along the drive including that big one in the last picture. His head was huge. I wish his entire body was out of the water. He has got to be the biggest one I’ve seen out in the wild.
Pretty plants along the way.