During bird nesting season (February – mid June in Central Florida), Gatorland’s Photographer’s Pass program allows early entry to the park at 7:30 am Thursday – Sunday and lets you stay until dusk on Saturday. It’s great if you want to photograph wild birds in good light outside of normal business hours when there’s not many tourists around. You can find out a lot more detail on their website at this link.
This season started last Thursday and I met Tom M., Zvia S., and Lee A. there. It’s early in the year so there’s not too much nesting activity yet, but there’s plenty to photograph. We saw many Great Egrets in breeding colors and plumage, and a few have started building nests. We also saw Anhingas, Cormorants, Black Vultures, and some Snowy Egrets, Wood Storks, and Great Blue Herons. I even sighted a Belted Kingfisher and a Black-crowned Night Heron.
The boardwalk along the breeding marsh offers close up looks at wild birds that are used to photographers and cameras.
Anhinga portrait – These birds are very pretty in the right light
Gatorland is also a great place to practice flight photography. The birds often fly over the boardwalk, many times along the same routes. With a little study, you can anticipate their path and get some good shots.
And of course, there are lots of alligators to photograph too.
Sunbathing gargantuan gator – I was about 15 feet away with my long lens zoomed out and had to make a 3 frame panorama to fit it all in.
We had a great time at Gatorland. If you want to get some really good photos of typical Florida wading birds, this is a wonderful place to do it. You can view many other Gatorland photos in this set on Flickr.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. I hope I’ll see you at Gatorland one morning making photos!
©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.