Critters in Lakeland in early March

Out at Circle B Bar Reserve in early March, I was greeted by a tricolored heron and a kingfisher, both flying by.

Green herons are common along the trail but I can’t help but take more pictures of them.

I saw this great blue heron high up in a tree doing a mating dance. They look straight up and bob up and down. It looks like he, or she, was sitting on a nest already. I guess she was ready to start a family.

Here comes another one. Maybe a looking for a mate? She did not want any part of him as she screamed at him.

He flew around in a circle and still came back to land on the same tree. She chased him off so maybe that wasn’t her boyfriend.

I stopped by Lake Morton near downtown Lakeland on the way home. This male black necked swan had already started a family. I saw him walking over to the nest and his mate, a mute swan, left. He checked the eggs out and then sat on them while she went out for a walk (or to look for a snack). The black neck swan had a mate, also a black necked, for several years before she was hit by a car in early 2020.  They were the only pair so now the lone male has taken a mute swan as a mate so it will be interesting to see how those babies turn out.

A blue winged teal taking a nap.

I’ve been told the gray swans here are offspring of mute swans and black swans that had paired up. There are several on the lake.

An anhinga posing for me.

The baby black swans are growing up fast. They looked so cute cuddling together.

A walk around Lake Morton

The Lakeland swans get fed at Lake Morton by the city through stations around the lake. The ducks can’t reach the station but they hang close by hoping to get some droppings.

In the winter you can usually find a few ring billed ducks with the swans.

The lake is mainly full of mute swans but there is also a pair of black neck swans. There are several fully gray swans that people think they are a hybrid of the mute and black swans.

White pelicans were circling around the lake during my recent walk.

Someone was feeding the ducks. People come to feed the ducks and swans but it’s the ibis that steal the food. A few ibis show up and all of sudden tons of them come flying across the lake to get in on the free food. They started attacking the people so they got in their car and left.

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Pretty things at Lake Morton

Flowers were blooming in early March.

One great blue heron wagging his tongue. The other had his pretty breeding colors on his face. You can see the color difference in the one above that’s not ready for a girlfriend yet.

After a bath.

There’s several fully grown gray swans. Might be a hybrid of the white mute swan and the black swan? They are really pretty.

Baby swan up close.  The original “ugly duckling”.

Looking at the feet of a wood stork. It looks like his toenails are painted.

A quick walk around Lake Morton in downtown Lakeland before lunch. I only found one baby swan and not many swans nesting. Maybe they are nesting late this year.

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