Last weekend we were invited to our first Birdapalooza. This event is held on the shores of Lake Apopka just 15 miles north of us. It’s the 5th Annual Wildlife Festival celebrating the restoration of one of Florida’s largest lakes.
For a century this shallow lake was algae ridden and the dumping grounds and runoff of what was mostly surrounding farms. With the passing of the the Clean Water Act, protection from the EPA, and an amazing job from environmentalists this lake now has the largest population of migratory birds in the state and is a favorite for local bass fishermen. Farming and the regulated use of fertilizers and pesticides have been pushed away from the lake and a more organic approach to local farms have created a balance so that the lake and its delicate ecosystem have made a dramatic comeback in the past two decades.
Birdapalooza sponsored many events and eco-friendly hikes and lectures. We chose to take the early morning wildlife photography hike led by a professional photographer. The hike was great but the guy leading it was horrible. Not only did forget about what this event was promoting, he couldn’t get past how his camera and his million dollar lens was better than the rest of ours, the people he was leading, eager to learn. Then had the audacity to pass his business card around.
Though our photography hike was a bit of a flop we did meet up with our bird expert, Stephanie, from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. And despite having the the only point-and-shoot camera with the littlest lens, Hali was the only one to capture this osprey as it dove into the the lake and snatched this fish. Yeah, it’s a bit grainy and a distant shot yet she caught the action. The others were fussing with their big, bulky lenses while focusing on this motionless limpkin.
The mission of Friends of the Lake is to promote, maintain, and protect all animals here at the lake. A vision to build an environmental education center will provide lessons we should all learn so that generations can enjoy and explore this wildlife sanctuary.
Thank You Gatorland for your generous time in teaching us the myths of the of the often feared alligator. Number one myth: Alligators will chase you.
That business card the professional photographer handed me? I handed it to this gal from Gatorland. . .