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.

White pelican ballet

It’s rare to see a lone white pelican. This guy was actually in the group below.

It’s beautiful to watch the white pelicans gracefully float around the water and feed. They don’t dive in head first to catch the fish like brown pelicans. They work in a group to herd the fish into shallower water. Bobbing up and down they look like they are synchronized fishing. I found them in a small lake in central Florida. They only stay here in the winter.

One swam under a water fountain in the middle of the lake.

Several flew over my head.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World

So many babies, so little time – at Lake Mirror

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So many babies, so little time.  This seems to be a big baby duck year. I’m seeing big families everywhere.  Getting them all lined up for a family portrait wasn’t easy. The babies are very curious and were running around all over the place.  Eventually they tired out and settled down for a nap hiding under mom.

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They grow up so fast. One of the first duck families this year at the lake.  They are still sticking close together.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

Turtle day at the lake

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The turtles at Lake Morton are usually extremely skittish. If they see me across the lake the dive under water. For some reason they stayed out on the rocks in late December. Maybe they just liked the warm sun too much that morning. There were several on the rocks along the lake. They all have slightly different patterns on their face and neck. They didn’t seem to mind the ducks coming close or even me so I snapped a lot of pictures of them that morning.

Saturday's Critters

A stop by Swan Lake during the holidays.

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Which one doesn’t belong?

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Gotta itch!

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Floating through the lily pads.

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Imagine using your mouth to clean your foot.  Or maybe he’s using his foot to clean his mouth?

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Taking a bath.

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Friends hanging out together.

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Lady ruddy duck floating by.

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Time to take down the tree.

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Last one there is a rotten duck.

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“I’m the man!”

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Getting pretty.

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Gulp!

Another stop on the Christmas tourist tour. My sister had not been to Lakeland before to see the swans so we stopped by Lake Morton in downtown Lakeland on our way back from Bok Tower Gardens. The lake was busy with people feeding the ducks, swans and geese so we hung out for a while and enjoyed the day.

Crazy ducks in downtown Lakeland

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“Hey lady, can you turn out the light?” said the muscovy duck.

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“I’m a happy duck.” said the some sort of mallard hybrid.

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“Going for a swim.” said another mallard hybrid.

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“I am not a mallard!” says the juvenile male wood duck.

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“We are family.”

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“I can swim.” says the American pekin duck.

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“I can flap too.”

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Hanging out with friends.

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“Hey lady, what kind of brown duck is this?”

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“This needs some hot sauce.” says the muscovy duck.

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“For the hundredth time, I’m a goose, not a swan so go away.”

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This mandarin duck couple looks sad. I’m not sure whether the males lose their bright feathers in the summer?

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“Hey lady, get my good side.” says the shelduck.

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“These bugs taste yummy.”

I walked around both lakes in downtown Lakeland, Lake Morton and Lake Mirror. All of the usual summer ducks were present but sadly, one of the shelducks has gone missing. A man who lives close by and feeds the ducks daily told me that he hasn’t seen the other one in a while. I didn’t see him while I was there. Sadly, now the shelduck is all alone.  Anyone want to take up a collection to buy another one for the lonely one at Lake Mirror? You can buy a pair for $275 on Efowl.com.  It doesn’t say but maybe you could get a single one for half the price.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters