Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive

Hi, I am Lachlann, the All Over the Map wildlife correspondent.  Today we are checking out the cool wildlife in Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive.  But first, we need to know about the wildlife drive.  Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is in Apopka, FL.  It’s located near Route 429, and it’s less than 30 miles from Disney World!  Sadly, it’s only open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  The Wildlife Drive is an 11 mile one-way drive filled with wildlife, that took us two hours to complete.  There are a lot of places that you can pull over so you can get out and get a better view.

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The only bathrooms are port-a-potties at the Pump House about halfway through the drive… gross!  Make sure you use the bathroom before you get there!  Bring drinks or snacks if you have kids, and one last important part, have fun!

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Sadly we can’t have an RV driving through the drive, because it will make too much noise.  And there are weight restrictions on the bridges and narrow roads.

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NO FISHING! Just to make it clear.

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This is us in our new car!  Mom will blog about our new car soon.  You can be unbuckled on the drive, the whole way!

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We saw some hawks, some other birds, we basically saw all the animals!  There is interpretive signage and maps you can pick up for the ride.  On the other side of the portable maps, there’s information about the drive.

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This is the map.  After you see the Pump House, you’re able to choose between two ways to go.  One road goes along the lake, one doesn’t.  We’ve done both, and they’re both good.

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We didn’t see a bobcat or marsh rabbit.

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Isn’t the view nice?

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Great Egret

The Great Egret is found near both fresh water and salt water.  The Great Egret also has four different subspecies and is found in America, Asia, and Europe.  This one’s in Florida, though.  They were almost hunted to extinction, but now they’re doing amazing!  They’re taller than the other white birds on the drive and they have yellow beaks.

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Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is the largest heron in North America.  It eats gophers and fish!  Eww about the gophers!  It has a shaggy appearance because of its wing, chest, and head plumes.  They build their nests high off the ground with sticks, and you can find them pretty much wherever there’s water.

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This is a weather station.  There is a anemometer on the top of it, which measures the wind’s direction and speed.  There was also a solar panel to power it.

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They’re testing to see which type of rain gauge works best during windy days in the rain.

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Gallinule Momma with Babies

The Gallinule lives in marshes and swamps from Canada to Chile, Europe to Southern Africa and from Asia to the Pacific.  They like to walk on floating water vegetation.  They can be quite conspicuous because of their bright red mark on their beak and the fact that they’re vocal.

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Great Blue Heron

Here is another Great Blue Heron we saw.  Do you see the alligator in the background?  I think the grass on his head is supposed to fool the heron, but it isn’t working!

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ALIGATOR ALERT! Psst, its staring at us.

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We were driving and there was a little turtle on the road.  We barely noticed it in time!  Luckily we stopped before we hit it!  It got scared when we got out to see it and hid his head in his shell.

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There’s Dad picking the baby turtle up! Awwwww!  He put it in the grass where it was headed so nobody would run it over.

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So close to him.  Did you know alligators can weigh up to 1000 lbs?  Alligators have a strong bite, but they’re not that strong at opening their mouths.  So humans can easily hold their mouths shut with their hands.  Alligator eggs become boy or girl due to what temperature it is.

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Red Shouldered Hawk

A Red Shouldered Hawk is typically a  sign of water or tall woods nearby.  It’s also one of the most common hawks.  They live in woodlands, usually near rivers.  Colwyn loved this bird!

If you’d like to see some video of the wildlife we spotted on the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, check us out on YouTube!

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