I ran into cuteness overload at Lake Morton in mid-May with two baby swans.They were staying close to the parents. They grow up in a big fenced-in pen right on the lake so the babies have a better chance of surviving at the lake and then are let out once they are big enough to take care of themselves. Ducks, other swans, hawks, eagles, alligators and snakes are just a few of the dangers there.
Two juveniles black swans were about to be released.
Older baby wood ducks were taking a nap.
Safety in numbers. These muscovy babies were all huddled together.
Mom was watching over these babies.
I stopped by Lake Morton in Lakeland on the way home from Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-May. I usually see one or two wood duck couples there but on this trip they were all around the lake. Sleeping in the grass, hanging out on the swan fences, chasing each other. They must have been gathering for a baby making convention. I have not made it back over to the lake since then so I’m not sure it there were a lot of babies but I would hope so..
All of the usual suspects were there.
Feeding the fowl is encouraged at the lake although bread is extremely discouraged. They have feeders that are filled with pellets that you can buy a handful for a quarter. This lady was feeding them cracked corn.
Clouds were rolling in and it was time to go home for lunch.
Lots of cormorants cruising across Lake Morton.
Cleaning up for the ladies. It’s nesting time around the lake.
Seven swans a sleeping?
Posing for me.
“Got a cigarette lady” Talk about timing. I was taking pictures with my long lens of the swan preening far out in the lake when I heard a noise right in front of me on the edge of the lake and saw these two getting frisky. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and snapped these. More baby swans coming around the lake.
Beautiful wood ducks hiding under the cypress trees.
Baby black swans staying close to their parents.
White pelicans were preening and stretching.
A lone goose with a striking face and beak. There use to be a lot of geese around this lake but I only found 2 on a trip in late February.
Various beauties around Lake Morton in late November.
Lots of turtles.
One of the many swan statues in the downtown area in Lakeland.
Even in late November, it was warm enough to want to jump in the fountain. As tempting as that is, there’s always the chance of a gator in that lake.
This beautiful young mute swan was taking a bath at Lake Morton in late November.
The white ducks are cute but aggressive, looking for a handout.
One of the black necked swans at the lake.
A wood duck and a ring billed duck couple.
The cypress trees were turning orange.
A female wood duck up above and her 4 juvenile babies hanging out on a rock.
It’s always fun to see the baby swans.
Across the street from the lake, in front of the library in Lakeland, there were still 2 swans sitting on nests. At least they had a good shady spot away from the crowds and a nice view of the lake.
Two butterflies together on the street. Where they mating? I’ve never seen this before.
It’s always fun to see baby swans. Both mute swans and black swans had babies at Lake Morton in early May.
A tiny limpkin baby hiding in the reeds while mom looks for food.
Baby mallards looking for bugs.
An older baby mallard.
Pretty ducks and swans.
White pelicans were still hanging around the lake.
Pretty weeds growing along the bank of the lake.
One place I consistently see wood ducks is at Lake Morton. Someone put a nest box right on the edge of the lake but I haven’t been back over there since early April to see if they had babies in the box.
Moorhens and coots at the lake. Moorhens have red beaks and they live here all year long. Coots have white beaks and are only here during the winter and early spring. They go back up north for the summer but there were a few stragglers in April.
One of my favorite ducks at the lake. Some type of hybrid mallard.
Across the lake, something had spooked the ruddy ducks and caused them to start scooting across the lake.
They all started taking off and landed on the other side of the lake. They are pretty skittish and don’t come close to the edge of the lake.
It’s rare to see a white pelican in Florida outside of the winter months. Even in the winter you have to hunt for them in central Florida. There’s usually a few that hang out at Lake Morton in Lakeland. These guys were still here in mid-March. They usually leave to head north for the summer in late April. Some of the older ones had already developed that bump on their beaks which they only get during breeding season.
A young one was posing.
Once in a while, a few would take off flying, circle the lake and land back on the lake. I’m going to miss them when they leave but hopefully they’ll be back in fall.