Lake Morton in Lakeland is a good spot to find white pelicans in the winter besides Fort Desoto. There are a lot fewer at Lake Morton but you can usually get closer. They hang out on the brick retaining walls around the lake. Most of the time they are sleeping when I’m there but on a recent trip they were moving around a little. I think two of them were fighting over space on the floating pole.
A coot swimming by.
Wood ducks were napping up in the cypress trees and some were swimming around the lake.
There’s always turtles sitting on the cypress knees.
The city of Lakeland were selling swans in late October. When I was there they were in holding pens on the lake. I felt bad that they were leaving their home but there have been banner crops of babies over the last few years and the lake is over-run with swans. Swans were getting hit by cars and fighting with each other. Hopefully they’ll go to homes that have more room for them. If I had a small pond on my property I would buy a pair. The money goes back into the fund to feed the swans at this lake.
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.
He was hanging around the ring neck ducks. I haven’t seen a female one with him.
He’s a handsome one. I hate that he doesn’t have a mate.
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.
Such a pretty face.
Settling down for an afternoon nap.
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.
The lake was full of coots down from the north for the winter.
This guy was right over my car. I took this hanging out the window.
“Stop lady, don’t drive into the lake” said the great blue heron.
The black bellied whistlers near the end of the drive stayed far out in the marsh.
This lady anhinga had a big gulp.
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.
An unusual looking hybrid. Looks like a cross between a mallard and a muscovy duck.
A baby mallard in December!
A coot and a gull fighting over bread that someone threw in the lake.
A lone female bufflehead. Not a common duck here.
A ring neck duck taking a bath.
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.