Flying and swimming for food

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Laughing gull flies by with a fish in his beak.

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The skimmer is trying to get a fish.

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This one got a fish.

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“Hey lady, how’s my form?”

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Cormorant coming up with an empty beak.

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This pelican has a beak full.

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Gulp!

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Another mouthful of fish.

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The fish were flopping in his pouch.

The fishing pier at Fort Desoto was busy with everyone trying to catch fish. The tiny bait fish was all around the pier creating this blanket of fish layering the top of the water. People were coming in close to the pier on their boats and throwing their nets to catch the fish. The birds were also there, filling their beaks. Gulls and skimmers were hovering over the water and scooping up the fish with their beaks. Pelicans weren’t even diving for the fish. They were just floating there and sticking their heads half way under water and filling their pouches with fish. I don’t know if the people fishing were catching any bigger fish. I didn’t see any that morning.

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Baby skimmers are growing up

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Taking a snoozer. Living on the beach can wear you out.

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Stretching!

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Practicing “Putting the brakes on”.

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“When am I gonna be grown up?”

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Showing off his profile. One of the oldest babies there.

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Getting comfy in the sand.

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Ready for bed.

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Dinner from mom.

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Hiding.

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Practicing his wing flap.

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“Lady, can you take this trash with you?”

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“Yummy fish for dinner.”

My last trip to the skimmer colony was in late July. Most of the baby skimmers were growing up fast. A few were just barely getting lift off but not fully flying yet. Many were practicing and skipping over the sand. All were still being fed by their parents. They were all at different stages of growing up and most of the older ones had ventured outside the roped off area. I was hoping to catch them down by the water but all of them stayed close to the parents that night. A big storm was out in the gulf heading towards the beach so I’m not sure if that kept them close to dunes. They all had so much personality but soon they will be grumpy old grown ups.

Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday  Our World Tuesday Graphic

Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for 

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Buds, Bees and Birds in Lakeland

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“Hey lady, have you got a pass to be out here?” says the female anhinga.

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Looking right into the sun, I saw these two wood storks on the top of a tree. At first I thought they were building a nest but I think they were just fighting for space.

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A squirrel eating a leaf?

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Fuzzy flowers on the lake.

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A limpkin eating a snail.

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A mockingbird landed right in front of my car.

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A very tiny dragonfly.

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Some type of bee on white flowers.

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A green fly on pink.

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Hanging from the palm trees in the parking lot.They look like orange grapes but I wasn’t going to try one.

Just some random things around downtown Lakeland on my walk around Lake Morton and Lake Mirror. I stopped by Hollis Gardens to see what was blooming but by that time it was too hot. Most of the spring blooms were gone. Replaced by summer bedding plants.

Shine the Divine

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“A hundred swans a swimming”

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One of the juvenile swans born this past spring. They are the size of the adults but don’t have their white feathers yet or orange beaks.  I only saw 4 there a few weeks ago. I thought I had read that 7 were released back to the lake. They may have just been sleeping under a bush somewhere else.

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It looks like this one was posing.

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“Hey, wait for me.”

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They came close to me looking for a handout.

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Getting a drink.

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“Ha Ha, you’re funny lady.”

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Last one of the four I saw that morning.

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A mottled gray version of the black swan.

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An adult mute swan taking a bath.

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Black swans on the lake.

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One of the two black neck swans at the lake. The other was a little farther back.

The morning was perfect. A decent breeze for mid-August over the lake. I hadn’t seen the juvenile swans since they were tiny babies so I had to go back before the winter to see them before they were all white. They were very curious, coming close to me. The lake was full of swans in all colors. Black, white, gray and fuzzy baby tan.

Linking to Saturday’s critters

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Sunny morning at the pier – Skywatch Friday

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Always a sad sight to see. The cormorant took off flying towards Egmont Key island. Hopefully, that will come loose off his beak as some point.

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“Wait, let me fix my hair before you take the picture.”

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Another sad sight, a pelican with fishing stuff attached to his wing. He was diving pretty far off the pier. He seemed to be catching fish with no problem.

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Big gulp!

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When he took off, I realized the fishing line was hooked between his beak and leg. The problem with this is if he lands on a mangrove bush, it could get tangled up and he would not be able to fly off.

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A great egret lands on the roof of the rain shelter and spooks the snowy egrets.

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They were waiting for the guy below to leave his bait bucket unattended.

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Which he eventually did for a few minutes. His back turned while fishing, the birds were seeing who was brave enough to grab the first fish out of the bucket. I told the guy he needed to cover his fish.

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Something going on far out in the water.

Another beautiful walk on the pier at Fort Desoto.

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Textures in the woods

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Moss growing on a dead log in the water.

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Cypress knees growing in the swamp. These are really just roots from the nearby cypress trees that grow out of the ground helping the tree survive in the swamp.

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Mushrooms growing on a log.

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Reflections

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Fern shadows on the moss growing on the cypress knees.

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The swamp was full of spider webs.

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Purple flowers growing in the nearby butterfly garden.

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Out on the lake.

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Where alligators hide.

I was a glutton for punishment. In the middle of August I went on a walk at Chesnut Park on the boardwalks that run through the swamp. I sprayed a coat of Off on in the parking lot and within 10 minutes I had 4 mosquito bites so I had to respray. I was hoping to see any kind of animal but I saw only spiders. I didn’t even see the deer that morning. They were probably hiding out in someone’s pool. I got a good walk in but all I saw was above. After walking for 2 hours, I headed home, had lunch and drank another gallon of water. Then it was a long nap for me.

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Papa Goose and his orphans

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I had read Kim’s post about the baby muscovy ducks that had been dropped off at the lake and the old Papa Goose is being a surrogate parent. I saw them from across the lake so I sat down for a while and waiting to see if they were heading over my way.

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There were only 4 that I saw that morning. One was staying close to Papa Goose. The other 3 were cruising around like they owned the lake.

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They floated their way into the lily pads and came near the edge of the lake. I’m sure they came close to see if I had food for them.

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When they realized I didn’t, they started eating the bugs off the underneath of the lily pads.

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One came on shore for a minute. They are so cute as babies.

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I saw what looked like a much younger baby also with them. He was sitting on the ground and didn’t want to move. Maybe he was tired from trying to keep up.

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They sat down to rest while Papa Goose stayed out in the water. He kept his eye on me though.

Lake Morton should have it’s own TV show. “Life on the Lake”. So much drama. A few years ago, there was a black swan couple that raised a baby goose. I don’t know whether the parents had abandoned him or something happened to them.

Two or three years ago, someone was stealing swan eggs. The city of Lakeland put up cameras in trees this year to try to catch them. I don’t what came out of that. Did they have fewer eggs stolen this year or catch anyone from the cameras? The city was also taking the baby swans away from the parents and raising them at a facility somewhere else. I think the death rate of baby swans on that lake was pretty high. Out of the tons of babies born this past spring, only a few were released back in the lake. I think I read 7  juveniles were back. So what did they do with the rest of them? Sell them off?

Then you have Papa Goose raising any lost muscovy babies as his own. This is not the first time he’s adopted and raised them.

Every once in a while, something unusual shows up like the lone bufflehead who hung out at the lake for several weeks.

In the winter, you have the bald eagle hanging out on the church cross looking for his next meal in the lake.

Always something going on!

Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday  Our World Tuesday Graphic

Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention  for 

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