Not too cold for a quick walk at the zoo

On our last day in Utah in January, we checked out of our rental and headed over to Salt Lake City. We had half a day to kill before our flight so we stopped at the Hogle Zoo. It wasn’t too crowded because you know, who goes to the zoo in Utah in the middle of winter? But, there were a few other people there and it was sunny and mild, around the high 40’s. The animals were all out running around.

The meerkats were staying warm in the sun.

Lots of red pops from the plants. The berries looked interesting and I found out the red bulb was some sort of sumac. I haven’t seen these in Florida.

A few of the wild critters roaming around. Yes, another magpie and a Canadian goose high up on a building.

A cool statue.

Some house sparrows all puffed up trying to stay warm.

The zoo had amazing views of the mountains from every spot. There was an interesting park across the way from the zoo. What is that statue? After walking around we headed over to find out.

A quick stop to see the funny faces

Checking out some pretty white pigeons at Horsepower for Kids (rescue/animal sanctuary/petting zoo/farm) in late June. They weren’t in a cage but they were banded. I guess they know they can get a handout here.

Some of the funny faces.

Looks like this is a baby emu. I wonder where they got this from. They take in all kinds of strays or abandoned animals.

It’s always fun seeing the peacocks running around.

“No, I’m not giving you a kiss” I told him. I was there early so once the kids get there he’ll get lots of attention and snacks. He loves a good scratch.

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A fun morning at the petting zoo.

The last time I was at Horsepower for Kids petting zoo/animal sanctuary was in early March.  At the end of May I stopped by right after they had re-opened up.  I figured this was a good place to get out and stretch my legs and it wouldn’t be crowded. Everything is pretty spread out and there were only a few other people there first thing in the morning. These above juvenile geese were growing up in the safety of a pen with a small pond before being released in the big lake.  I realized that they were just eggs when I was there in March and now they were almost grown up. It would have been fun to see them as tiny fluff balls but at least they were growing up to be handsome loud annoying big geese.

The best was seeing the baby peacocks although they were pretty shy and stayed under the bushes. I”m sure the neighbors close by wouldn’t think more peacocks were the best though. So cute!

This goose let me know to stay back (taken with my 400mm lens and cropped).

I only saw one baby chicken wondering around with the adults and she was pretty big.

A few of the other smiling faces.

This beautiful bird was a rescue that the sanctuary had recently taken in. It was a former pet and was very friendly.

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More from Lake Morton


A young stork that looks like an old soul.



Besides the swans, both geese and ducks were nesting all around the lake.


Things were still getting frisky so more babies to come.



A wood duck couple were sleeping on the cypress tree roots on the edge of the lake.


This one looks like a hybrid mallard. Very pretty colors.


An ibis was stealing the swan food.


Looks like this stork was working on a nest.



The turtles were out sunning themselves.


A kapok tree flower.


Sandhill cranes flying high overhead.

There are lots more stuff at Lake Morton than just swans. Lots of ducks, geese, ibis, turtles and birds hanging around.

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Things around a local lake.

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The usual ducks and geese around the lake.



Big footed baby moorhens growing up around the lake.



Pretty pigeon with pink feet.


Checking me out.



Cool trees.


Crescent Lake Park is close to downtown St. Petersburg. It’s a small lake surrounded by houses with a dog park and baseball fields. The Saturday morning I was there was a busy one. Many people out jogging and walking their dogs. No unusual wildlife but lots of ducks and geese, the later I say far away from. If you get close to them and don’t have food they get mean.

Skywatch Friday

The almost usual stuff at the lake.

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White pelicans who should have been north by now. They were still hanging around central Florida in May.


Ibis flyby.




The beautiful black neck swans were nesting. I don’t know if the babies hatched.


Nosy goose.


Grackle with a snackle.


A laughing gull couple far away from the beach.


An injured ibis. He was still able to fly away.


A turtle in the lake.

I took a quick walk around Lake Morton in Lakeland after my long walk at Circle B Bar Reserve before heading home.

Pretty faces at the lake.


Some of the geese have all orange beaks and some have the spots on them. Is that a sunburn? Or maybe an age spot?


The black swans were nesting.


The only white pelican at the lake that morning. He looks comfy.


Pretty goose face.


The old man face.


Green and yellow face.


Another pretty goose face. His feathers are darker than the others and I don’t think his eyes are blue.

Pretty faces at Lake Morton in early March. I stopped to see if there were any duck or goose babies. Still a little early.

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Papa Goose and his orphans


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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!

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