Eagles, Owls, and more at Orlando's Greenwood Park and Greenwood Cemetery

Intro / Description

Greenwood Urban Wetlands is a 19 acre park in downtown Orlando and was created in 1991 to help handle the sometimes massive rainwater runoff in the area.  The park is right next to Greenwood municipal cemetery, where many of Orlando’s notables have been buried since 1880.

Pre-dawn pond at Greenwood ParkVenus Rising: Pre-dawn pond at Greenwood Park – This is a two image composite that I hand merged in Photoshop.

I arrived before dawn a couple of Saturday’s ago.  I’d heard about it on Flickr and seen photos others had made there, although I still wasn’t sure what to expect.  I was hoping for a sunrise photo, but the sky was very clear and I didn’t know the area.  So, I picked a spot near the parking area and set up for the image above.  For this one, I made two exposures (one for the sky and one for the ground) and merged them as described in this post.  I like the way it turned out, especially with the morning star Venus rising, and the leaves and flowers on the left.

Kevin M. joined me a bit later and we walked around exploring.  There were a few birds (coots, wood ducks, egrets, Great Blue Heron) in the small lakes, but nothing too unusual.  We’d heard about an eagle nest nearby, so we decided to look for it in Greenwood Cemetery.

The nest was easy to find, since there were two juvenile eagles perched right next to it calling quite often.  We made several photos while we waited for better light and were eventually able to get the birds facing us with the sun at our backs.  These two young birds were flying between trees in the area, but didn’t act like they knew  much at all about feeding themselves.  They seemed to be waiting for the parents to bring back food – but that didn’t happen while we were there.

Juvenile Bald EagleJuvenile Eagle

We also saw a very pretty Wood Duck pair in nice light, a couple of Barred owls, and some very aggressive Blue Jays (harassing the owls) on the way out.  You can see the other photos I made in this Flickr set.

Barred Owl 2
Barred Owl

Info for Photographers

Photo hints:

There’s not much to work with for landscapes.  But there’s a surprising variety of birds for such an urban setting.  Make sure you walk through both the park and cemetery if you go.  You could also drive through the cemetery if you don’t have time to walk.

Tripod/Monopod:

Of course.

Lenses:

Take appropriate lenses for your subjects.  Mostly long lenses for the birds.  A flash might help control the contrast for the subjects back in the leaves (owls).

Best time to visit:

February – March might allow eagle nesting activity to be observed.

Other:

This close by park may be an opportunity to snag a few keeper shots for your bird portfolio, and won’t take too long to check out.

Halloween 2012 update:  Don Price, the Greenwood Cemetery Sexton, offers guided moonlight walking tours once a month where you can learn about Orlando and the people who have contributed to the history of the city.  The tour is usually crowded and reservations are required.  Go to the cemetery website and click on “Moonlight Walking Tours” for more info.

Summary

My Gallery / Flickr photo set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/sets/72157626518075606/
Website: http://www.cityoforlando.net/fpr/html/Parks/Greenwood.htm
Address / Phone: 1411 Greenwood Street, Orlando, Florida
407.246.2283
Central Florida Photo Ops Rating: A surprising urban opportunity for a few bird photos.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, now – go make some photos!
©2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

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