Summer on the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive

Two weeks ago, I headed to the recently opened Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive with Camille in an attempt to see a few select species that have been reported there on eBird and in the e-mail lists. I was most hopeful to see both an Orchard Oriole (last seen by me in Marlinton, WV over a decade ago) and a Yellow-breasted Chat (which I last saw at Bear Rocks Lake in West Virginia in the same time-frame). There had also been reports of a Shiny Cowbird, which is quite rare.

The oriole and chat were no-shows, but for summer-time birding, you can’t go wrong with Lake Apopka. We hooked up with some other birding folks and convoyed our morning away.

At one point, while trying to observe a distant Yellow-crowned Night Heron, I flushed a Bobcat out of the grass and right past Camille! By the time I turned around, it was gone! Below are some photographs from the trip.

towhee
Even from this distance, the white eye of a Florida Eastern Towhee is startlingly evident.




After the Wildlife Drive, we drove around to the North Shore Restoration Area loop trails for a few minutes to look for Blue Grosbeaks (we did find one!), then drove around the general area north of the lake before heading back home. Near the canal by the northwest side of the lake an adult female Eastern Bluebird was perched while an adult male flew around nearby.

bluebird
Bluebirds are in the thrush family, and are close relatives of the American Robin. Can you see the resemblance in the shape of the face and bill?

The final highlight for me was the quick glimpse of a Gray Kingbird on West Jones Ave. This species is usually found along the coast, but a few have been regularly reported near the lake this summer.

Here are the links to the eBird lists for the follow species:

Lust Road/Wildlife Drive:
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S24086006

  • Anhinga
  • Least Bittern
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Snowy Egret
  • Little Blue Heron
  • Tricolored Heron
  • Cattle Egret
  • Green Heron
  • Yellow-crowned Night Heron
  • White Ibis
  • Glossy Ibis
  • Roseate Spoonbill
  • Black Vulture
  • Osprey
  • Swallow-tailed Kite
  • Mississippi Kite
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Purple Gallinule
  • Common Gallinule
  • American Coot
  • Limpkin
  • Black-necked Stilt
  • Common Ground Dove
  • White-winged Dove
  • Mourning Dove
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  • Chimney Swift
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • White-eyed Vireo (♫)
  • Fish Crow
  • Purple Maritn
  • Tree Swallow
  • Barn Swallow
  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  • Carolina Wren
  • Brown Thrasher
  • European Starling
  • Eastern Towhee
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Boat-tailed Grackle
  • Shiny Cowbird (life bird)
  • Brown-headed Cowbird

Lake Apopka Loop Trail and environs:
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S24086007

  • White Ibis
  • Swallow-tailed Kite
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Mourning Dove
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Blue Grosbeak
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Boat-tailed Grackle
  • Eastern Bluebird (not on checklist)
  • Gray Kingbird (not on checklist)

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