Winter at Orlando Wetlands Park

Orlando Wetlands Park

One of the many impoundments at Orlando Wetlands Park

It’s winter in Orlando, and that means the birds are here. Not just the snowbirds, who we curse sometimes for clogging our highways, but the migratory birds, the rafts of white pelicans and mergansers floating on open waters, the delight of robins flitting en masse through the forests.

Living between two of the largest lakes in the region, I see ospreys wheeling over my apartment complex and ibises stopping for a break at the pond out back. I hear sandhill cranes flying over the nearby pines in search of wetlands.

With delightful birds around me everywhere I look this time of year, I’m a lazy birder. I like to go places where it’s easy to find interesting species. Tops on my list? Orlando Wetlands Park. Carved out of a former dairy farm, these man-made pools vary in depth in order to allow wastewater to be naturally treated by native vegetation. A system of levees circles the impoundments, which have native vegetation along their rims. A visit to Orlando Wetlands Park is not just for birders, but it’s a photographer’s delight.

I’ve written extensively about the park for my book, Five Star Trails Orlando (Menasha Ridge Press). If you’re in the area, now is the time to visit.

Limpkin at Orlando Wetlands Park

Limpkin at Orlando Wetlands Park

Fulvous whistling ducks

Fulvous whistling ducks at Orlando Wetlands Park

Purple gallinule

Purple gallinule at Orlando Wetlands Park

Crested caracara

Crested caracara at Orlando Wetlands Park, near the northern extent of its range.

Leave a Comment