This weekend I made my first visit to Gatorland in the Orlando, FL area for this year. Every year during bird nesting season this is a wonderful place to get great images of a number of wading birds. In the Rookery area of the attraction, back behind the…
more touristy areas, there are hundreds of birds, feeding, nesting and taking care of their young. There is a spacious boardwalk that goes the full length of the marsh and pond that they have for their breeding alligators. The bushes and trees that grow along this pond are a perfect place for nesting as many of the predators that go for nests are not an issue here due to the presence of the alligators below. In many spots you are within a few feet of active nests. Gatorland has several special access deals for photographers that allow you to come in early and stay late so you can take advantage of the better light. These times are also when the greatest numbers of birds are in the Rookery.
Things are running a bit late this year due to the unusually cold weather we have had in FL but there were several Great Egret nests with chicks. The Tri-Colored Herons are displaying and a few have started nests. The Snowy Egrets, Wood Storks and Anhingas are in various stages of the process. Only a few Cattle Egrets were around and one or two Great Blue Herons. There also several Roseate Spoonbills.
Breeding and chick rearing will be going on into June so if you are in the area, Gatorland is one place you should checkout for birds!
There are more bird images on my website, so check them out. I will be making more trips to Gatorland as the season progresses so check back for even more images.