Rainy morning at Bear River Refuge.

The only new thing I saw at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, just north of Salt Lake City, was a ring necked pheasant (the blurry photo above). We saw several from far away but they were very skittish and would dart under the bushes when they saw us drive nearby.

The scenery was beautiful with the mountains in the background. The refuge is a one-way 12 mile drive where the fresh water Bear River meets the northeast section of the Great Salt Lake. It should have been full of ducks and birds but two things were not in our favor. The long drought and a recent prescribed burn. We saw very few animals. Actually a third thing since this was the only day we say rain, it drizzled the entire time we were there. The sun peaked out quickly right before we were leaving.

The rental jeep was filthy due to the mud on the gravel drive. We stopped at a car wash before heading back to the hotel.

A big statue of an avocet in the nature center.

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On the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve

Great egrets and spoonbills were in the air and in the muck.

Bittern, limpkin, anhinga and wood stork on the trail.

A house wren hiding in the bushes.

Coot with cool feet.

A kingfisher actually sitting still.

Purple gallinule eating something yucky.

Lots of activity in late March at Circle B Bar Reserve but nothing unusual.

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More fowl than fish.

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One of the two black neck swans at the lake.

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Posing for pictures.

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The red-headed duck is back for the winter.

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He was hanging around the ring neck ducks. I haven’t seen a female one with him.

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He’s a handsome one. I hate that he doesn’t have a mate.

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There’s a handful of white pelicans that hang out at this lake during the winter.  They stick together and don’t come running for a handout when people come to feed the ducks.

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Such a pretty face.

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Settling down for an afternoon nap.

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Coots have cool feet.

I’ve been stopping by Lake Morton in Lakeland after my walk at Circle B Bar Reserve lately. Since it’s only 10 minutes away, it’s a quick walk around the lake before I head back to Tampa. The small lake is full of fowl! Ducks, geese, swans, white pelicans, coots, ibis, great blue herons and lots of different gulls.

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The lazy hike at Lake Apopka

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Pied grebes were floating everywhere.

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There were a handful of glossy ibis.

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The lake was full of coots down from the north for the winter.

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This guy was right over my car. I took this hanging out the window.

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“Stop lady, don’t drive into the lake” said the great blue heron.

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The black bellied whistlers near the end of the drive stayed far out in the marsh.

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This lady anhinga had a big gulp.

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These big guys were all along the drive. I stopped the car and got out to take these but they were actually across the water.

There’s a lake north of Orlando that has a driving trail along the north shore. I decided to take my sister up there when she was here over the holidays. It was a good way to get out with doing a lot of walking. She had foot surgery recently so she wasn’t up for a long walk. We drove an hour and a half on the Saturday after Christmas to get there early that morning. At first there wasn’t too many cars there but the closer to lunch it got, the more cars were on the drive. I did see a few more birds than the ones above but only got distant blurry shots of a northern harrier, several bald eagles, a merlin and lots of tiny birds far out in the marsh.

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Duck action at Lake Morton

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An unusual looking hybrid.  Looks like a cross between a mallard and a muscovy duck.

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A baby mallard in December!

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A coot and a gull fighting over bread that someone threw in the lake.

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Duck butts!

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A lone female bufflehead. Not a common duck here.

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A ring neck duck taking a bath.

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Drying off.

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I cannot figure out what kind of duck this is.  Is it a hybrid of some sort? I’ve only seen one at the lake. That pink beak and the pink legs are amazing as well as the eyes.

I found out today that this is a Coscoroba swan. It is the smallest of all swans and comes from South America.  The city of Lakeland bought a pair for the lake last January. At this point there is only one at the lake.

There are so many different ducks at Lake Morton in downtown Lakeland. They are known for having swans on the lake but there are a lot more ducks there and so many different ones. It’s fun just to walk around and look at all the duck action going on.

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Beautiful morning at Chesnut Park.

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Carolina chickadee high up in the tree. I don’t see these often.

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Not sure what this titmouse was looking at as he landed on the branch.

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“Oh wait, get my good side.” (but what’s he’s really thinking is “Do you have any bird seed lady?”)

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Cardinals are everywhere.

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His girlfriend was down below him on the ground pecking at something.

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Perfect pose.

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The lake was quiet with only a few coots floating around.

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“Trust me, I”m not going to steal your snack.” I said to the coot as he turned his head.

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Signs of fall in February.

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Still a few things blooming though.

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And sprouting. This back and forth hot and cool weather has nature confused.

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This has been a weird winter for everyone. Down here we are getting 80 degrees for a couple of days and then in the 50’s a couple of days. Back and forth.  My sister, who lives in Birmingham (AL) was caught in that snow storm recently and spent one night sleeping on the floor of her office and one night in a hotel before she could get home. She had to leave her car at the bottom of the mountain and hike up. Two days later it was 65 degrees.

It was sunny and cool in early February when I headed out to Chesnut Park for a long walk. Nothing new at the park but it was a beautiful morning and quiet. Except for the usual joggers and dog walkers that stay on the street through the park, the boardwalks were empty. Saw a lot of deer on this trip. More on those later.

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