Only in the winter

White pelicans are true “snow birds”. You only see them in Florida in the winter and even then it’s rare to see them. For the last several years there have been a few hanging around Lake Morton in downtown Lakeland (also know for their resident swans that live on the lake). I had seen a few earlier in the winter but when I stopped by to see if any of the swans had babies yet in mid-March, the lake was full of white pelicans. They were busy fishing and didn’t notice me at all standing on the side of the lake.

They seemed to be herding the fish into the vegetation and then scooping up the fish. You would think that after doing this all day they would eat all of the fish in this little lake. I went back several weeks later and all of the white pelicans were gone. I”m assuming they moved on to another pond or left to head up north. I realized when I cropped that last shot that there was a northern shoveler swimming in front of them.

Many of the pelicans were busy preening or flying around.

Showing off on Lake Morton

Lots of pretty swans on Lake Morton.

The cormorants were getting all their “ducks” all lined up.

In a flash, I saw the male northern shoveler flying away. He was very skittish.  Then a ring necked duck came in for a landing.

A lady was feeding the ducks some cracked corn (which is what they should be eating instead of bread).

Drying off on the lake.

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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.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Two lakes in downtown.

One of the black necked swans.

A black swan working on a nest.

A young mute swan.

A young and an old wood stork.

One of the shelducks at Lake Mirror.

A pied grebe hiding in the reeds,

Cormorants and anhingas drying off in the sun. The first bird in the top picture is an anhinga. The rest are cormorants. Anhingas have a straight beak and spear their fish. Cormorants have a curved beak and hook their fish.

Threes a crowd.

All taken at Lake Morton and Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland. The small lakes are just a few minutes apart so it’s easy to do quick walks around both before heading home.

Duck, Duck, Ibis

People come to this lake to feed the ducks and swans but it’s mostly the ibis that get fed. They fly in by the hundreds and attack the person holding the food.

A few random ducks.

You can always find wood ducks at this lake.

There was a pair of coscoroba swans (smaller swan with the bright pink beak) but I think there is now only 1.  I think the mute swan has become friends with the coscoroba.  They were hanging out together and flirting.

It’s mating and nesting season for the mute swans at Lake Morton.

White and bright

There’s a small flock of white pelicans that spend their winters at Lake Morton in central Florida. I think they may stay there all year round now. They have become acclimated to having a lot of people around since this is a busy park. In mid April I stopped by to take their picture and they ignored me. Kids were running around and they slept through it. I guess it’s good that they feel comfortable here.

Bright flowers were blooming everywhere.

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Beautiful “ugly ducklings”

Sometimes things just work out. I was heading home after a long walk at Circle B Bar Reserve and decided to stop by Lake Morton near downtown Lakeland for a quick walk around the small lake. I was hoping to find some baby wood duck families since there have been a lot of wood duck couples hanging around the lake.  I got even luckier. This was the first time I’ve seen baby swans that young swimming with the parents.  The little twins were very curious pecking at everything but they stayed close to the parents. I sat down on the grass and took a ton of pictures. All of these were taken in late April with my 300mm lens and were extremely cropped.