A January Jaunt: Lake Apopka

Hubby and I spent several days in Florida this past week, traipsing about the wetlands, taking pictures of the beautiful birds that reside there. (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the man spoils me!) I came home with a camera full of photos, and thought that the easiest way to share some of them would be to write three different posts that feature three of the places we visited.

So, since Lake Apopka was our first stop, it shall be the first post! This lovely lake (located just northwest of Orlando) features an eleven mile wildlife drive that can be walked or cycled during the week, and is open to vehicles on weekends. We opted to drive through since you can park and walk whenever you want.

In an effort to keep this post from becoming a novel, how about I just share four of the birds that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing?

The first is this male Anhinga, who was perched with outstretched wings soaking up the early morning sunshine. You can tell this one’s a fellow because he has black neck and head feathers instead of the tan tones that the female sports.

I love the markings on his wings. Don’t you think his pattern would make the perfect album cover for a classic rock band?

After I had watched him for several moments, he left his perch and started to fly away.

I thought he was going to leave the area, but instead he circled around and made a splash landing right next to me.

Then, he swam around with his head out of the water (you can see why he is often referred to as the “snake bird”) before disappearing beneath the surface. It was a great way to start the day!

Next on the list is this Osprey that was perched on a limb as he looked out over the lake.

He, too, was only there for a moment before he flew up into the air and began circling about in search of a morning meal.

I had my camera ready, hoping to be able to catch him grabbing a fish, so when he made a beeline for the water, I started firing away!

He dove completely under the water, leaving me with a burst of bubbles…

…and then emerged using his powerful wings to once again get airborne.

Alas, this time the fish managed to avoid being breakfast and the Osprey went away empty.

This hungry bird wasn’t easily deterred though, and he quickly resumed soaring and searching and planning his next strike.

The Fulvous Whistling Ducks are another bird that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing. I didn’t get great shots of them, but I wanted to include them because I find their rich caramel coloring to be incredibly beautiful. There was something soothing about watching them drift through the water.

They are social birds that get their name (no surprise!) from the whistling call that they make.

And last, but not least, is a Bald Eagle that taunted me throughout the day. I kept seeing him soaring in the distance, just out of reach of a crisp shot. The photo below is heavily cropped!

Finally, as we were nearing the end of the drive, I saw him perched on a tree top that wasn’t too far off. He was tucked away behind a tangle of twigs, but that didn’t diminish his majesty!

I did manage to get a couple shots of him as he took off into the distance to resume his taunting of me! I guess that just means I’ll need to go back another time to try for a clearer close-up!

I thought about sharing pictures of the well-fed alligators that were everywhere, like this guy who was eyeing me as I took his picture “from the safety of the jeep” – you’ll know how to say that if you used to watch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom! You can actually see the orange jeep if you zoom in on his eye!

And I considered including this industrious Purple Gallinule…

…but you have to draw the line somewhere! Besides I got more pictures of these beauties at another location, so we’ll just consider him a preview of coming attractions!

Suffice it to say, Lake Apopka was a wonderful, beautiful, bountiful place, and if you ever get the chance to go there, you won’t be disappointed!

14 thoughts on “A January Jaunt: Lake Apopka

  1. Wow. This reminds me of a Refuge near me that has a 6 mile drive, though they don’t allow bikes or walking. But you do get to see some cool stuff. You got some great images! I don’t think I’d walk it if there are alligators. Plus I’d be taking so many images that it would take me days to walk that far!

    1. Most of the places we went we were walking with the alligators lounging about quite close. I only got uneasy when they would lift their heads and keep their gaze on us. Needless to say, we gave them a wide berth then!

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