Driving along Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive

A green heron was all alone with his reflection.

Some of the wintering ducks at the wildlife drive include a blue winged teal couple, a female northern shoveler and a grebe.

The coots seemed to be in couples all over the drive.

A glossy ibis in the bur marigolds.

Some of the smaller birds include a flicker and many blue gray gnatcatchers.

I got out of the car and was walking around watching the ducks when this kingfisher flew right by.

Shooting right into the sun, the marsh looked like it had a layer of gold on top. Those tiny black dots were coots which were all over the place. It really looked like winter on my drive in late December with all of the leaves off the trees and bushes here. The wildlife drive is just north of Orlando and is a little hike from my house so I don’t get here often. It’s been worth the drive recently since I was trying to stay off my hip due to hip bursitis at the end of last year.

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Only in the winter

White pelicans are true “snow birds”. You only see them in Florida in the winter and even then it’s rare to see them. For the last several years there have been a few hanging around Lake Morton in downtown Lakeland (also know for their resident swans that live on the lake). I had seen a few earlier in the winter but when I stopped by to see if any of the swans had babies yet in mid-March, the lake was full of white pelicans. They were busy fishing and didn’t notice me at all standing on the side of the lake.

They seemed to be herding the fish into the vegetation and then scooping up the fish. You would think that after doing this all day they would eat all of the fish in this little lake. I went back several weeks later and all of the white pelicans were gone. I”m assuming they moved on to another pond or left to head up north. I realized when I cropped that last shot that there was a northern shoveler swimming in front of them.

Many of the pelicans were busy preening or flying around.

Showing off on Lake Morton

Lots of pretty swans on Lake Morton.

The cormorants were getting all their “ducks” all lined up.

In a flash, I saw the male northern shoveler flying away. He was very skittish.  Then a ring necked duck came in for a landing.

A lady was feeding the ducks some cracked corn (which is what they should be eating instead of bread).

Drying off on the lake.

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Bad pictures of a new duck.


I found the American wigeon that had been spotted at Largo Nature Preserve. A first for me on this fairly common duck. All in front of the picture, they were hanging out with some coots and moorhens. Of course, they were on the river where I had to take the picture right into the sun. I couldn’t go around since there are houses along the other side of the river.


Northern shoveler with an itch.


Northern shoveler with a mallard in front. They look alike except when you see them together. That big old beak gives the shoveler away.


They were all busy feeding.


A great blue heron panting on the boardwalk.  It was warm on the first weekend in January. No jacket needed.


He kept flying back and forth as people were walking along the boardwalk.


“Baby blue” A young little blue heron all alone. He started looking up and freaking out. I realized it was because the below had just flown by.


As I was taking a picture of the baby blue, I saw something fly overhead. When I looked up this eagle was already past me and off into the wild blue yonder.


A very typical scene. A cormorant silhouette into the sun while drying off.


This was taken with my 300mm lens. He was in his usual spot along the boardwalk.


Same guy but taken with my iphone. Someone said he was 11 feet long. What do you think? I think he was exaggerating over the length.


Green parrots kept flying back and forth across the park. I never could see them landing. I think they live and nest at the electric plant near the park.

A beautiful morning on the first weekend of 2015.