Lake Apopka has been spectacular over the last month or so. For starters, a month ago, a Brown Booby was blown inland by a storm, found Lake Apopka, and now apparently doesn’t want to leave. It’s been living on the lake for the last month, usually too far away to see with binoculars. However, today I got some good scope views of this incredible rarity – too far away for photos, though. A week ago, I found a Purple Swamphen (aka Gray-headed Swamphen) on Lust Rd.
This is an exotic species that escaped from south Florida a few years ago and has been expanding its range throughout south Florida, and now Central Florida. Two days ago, a Tropical Kingbird was seen here as well (I’ve chased it three times and not found it).
Ash-throated Flycatchers have also been coming in. At least three have been seen between Magnolia Park and the pump house a the end of Lust Rd. I found two yesterday when I was striking out on the Tropical Kingbird.
Today was another wonderful day. I missed the Tropical Kingbird (I dont’ think anyone saw it today), didn’t spend much time looking for the swamphen (though others saw it), but scored the Brown Booby. Ducks are coming in in pretty good numbers now–Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Blue-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Black-bellied Whistling Duck and Fulvous Whistling Duck. I see Fulvous Whistling Ducks here a lot, but normally in flight. Today I took my first photos of them resting on the water.
Swamp Sparrows are everywhere now, as well as Savannah Sparrows, but it was nice to find Song Sparrows here–they’re unusual in Central Florida.
Falcons were pretty numerous as well. I saw three Kestrels, two Merlins, and one Peregrine Falcon with a full crop.
Of course the common birds are here too, and sometimes they’re photogenic. Here’s my checklist for my day on the wildlife drive today. I found 76 species along the drive.