I visited Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive this past Sunday knowing I would see a lot of different birds there, but I was hoping to see one kind in particular: Barn Swallows.
I saw some at LAWD in early May, but I wasn’t successful in getting any decent pictures of these fast-moving, 7-inch birds with their forked tails. I wanted another chance to try to photograph them.
I had some good luck and came across a group of Barn Swallows. Then the bad luck followed: the lighting at the location wasn’t great, and there were other challenges.
First, trying to get a shot of the birds in focus while they flew was difficult as they zipped around with their zig-zag flight pattern. These birds are almost always on the go. They usually don’t slow down even to take a drink – they drink in flight by skimming along the water or taking water off wet leaves.
Second, trying to dial in the proper camera settings to accurately capture birds’ coloring was also troublesome.
The Birds of Florida Field Guide described them as having a “blue-black back” while AllAboutBirds.com called their top part “glistening cobalt blue.” To me they were dark black with specks of blue.
Fortunately, these birds decided to give me a break when they took a break on nearby a power line. It was easier to shoot them sitting than trying to follow them around in flight.
I was able to get some pictures, but I’m still not particularly happy with them. That just means I will have to make another attempt soon.