When I was at Bosque del Apache in New Mexico last November I met a nice couple (from NM) with ties to the Lake Panasoffkee area (about 25 miles from my home). I suggested they get in touch if/when they came down later in the winter.
They did and since Bob is an avid photographer he suggested we rent a boat and go out on the river to see what we could find. Great idea! Fortunately he is familiar with the river and outboard motors and was willing to navigate. As we started out there were osprey working on a nest. We started out on a small inlet into Lake Panasoffkee and headed west towards the Withlacoochee River via Princess Lake.
We saw quite a few birds, but getting sharp images was a challenge since the boat was in motion 99% of
the time, either because we were going forward or drifting in the current. It called for fast shutter speeds and a steady hand (no tripod). I got many more blurred images than sharp ones but it was a good day over all. We saw only a couple of other boats, fishermen.
There was a good variety of wading birds and many Red Shouldered Hawks.
Some of the birds were very skittish, others much less disturbed as we went by or slowed to watch them.
Black Crowned Night Herons are very difficult to capture so we were very pleased this one didn’t take off immediately when we slowed and circled near it.
We also ventured into a couple of sloughs looking for birds, didn’t see any
other than a few ibis in among the cypress but the waters were very still and we took advantage of that to get some nice reflections.
We were rather surprised that the only osprey we saw were right at the start, none along the river or small lake and we only saw 3 gators. I suppose the gators were there but staying down in the water nice and warm since it was rather chilly.