“Don’t play with your food.”

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Before heading home for lunch, I decided to stop by Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland to see if there was anything new there. I got out of the car and saw the above ibis trying to gulp down that frog.  He kept walking around, trying to keep the other ibis from stealing it. It finally headed around a building so I didn’t see him eat it.

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The mandarin duck couple were sleeping under a tree. The male peaked at me for a second and then went back to sleep.

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One of the shelducks stood up to stretch but then plopped back down and went back to sleep. Since all of the critters around the small lake were napping I headed home for lunch and a nap too.

The rainbow (mandarin) ducks at Lake Mirror

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Which one doesn’t belong?

After checking out the swans at Lake Morton during the holidays, I took my visiting sister to see more swans over at Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland. The highlight was seeing the mandarin duck couple.  They now seem to be adjusted to the constant foot traffic around the little lake. They did not fly away and hide when people were walking by.  On this trip I realized there were two mandarin couples there. It would be nice to see little mandarin duckling floating around this spring.

Rainy walk around Lake Morton

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This muscovy duck was checking me out. Most of the ducks come pretty close to see if you have food to give them.

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One of my favorite hybrid ducks at the lake. He’s pretty with the black and white body and yellow beak.

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One lone white pelican still hanging around the lake. All of his friends have gone north for the summer. He looked okay so I’m not sure why he’s still hanging around.

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A male wood duck standing on one of the old swan pens along the lake.

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One of the cottonball heads shaking off.

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I realized he’s missing an eye. I don’t remember any of them missing an eye before.

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The other eye was fine.

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Unusual couple watching me.

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The powder puff male mallard is still there.

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As I was walking around the lake, I ran into some people feeding the wildlife. They were throwing bread to the birds. At least some people bring dried corn to feed them so it’s not always bad bread.

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Chaos started as birds from across the lake realized someone had food. They all came over.  The storks started grabbing bread.

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Everyone wants a handout. I guess they get tired of eating bugs and fish all the time.

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The great blue heron flew in and got a few bites.

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I left Lake Morton and headed over to Lake Mirror, just 5 minutes away. It was quiet there with only a few ducks close to the shore. I immediately saw this female mandarin duck.

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Then I found the male mandarin duck on the grass. These are not native ducks. The city purchased them because they were pretty and would look good floating around the lake downtown.

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At first he jumped in the water and headed for his girlfriend.

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As I sat down on the grass, the male came back up on shore. He seemed curious and headed towards me. He came really close and then headed back into the water. Again, I think he was looking to see if I had food to give him.

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The couple chilling out along the lake.

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Another strange hybrid couple.

It rained all weekend in mid-April. I wanted to get over to Lakeland to see if any of the swan eggs had hatched yet. I thought maybe I’d get lucky and the rain would   stop. No such luck. It drizzled the entire time I was walking around both lakes. At one point it starting raining heavier and I was walking around with my rain slicker on and trying to juggle an umbrella. By lunch, it was not going to clear up so I headed home. At least I got my walk in that morning.

A variety of flying things in downtown Lakeland

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I quickly found the mandarin duck couple at Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland. I had heard the city had received two mandarin couples for the lake. I only found one of the couples but did not know there were two until later after my visit.

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They were napping while I was there but something up in the sky caused them to look up for a few minutes. Hawks and eagles sometimes cruise through there so they might have seen something high up in the sky.

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Lake Mirror has a small floating deck in the middle of the lake which is probably used for seasonal decorations. The two fake owls are there to keep the real birds off the deck but you can see how much the real birds pay attention.

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I headed over to Lake Morton, a couple of blocks away to see if any of the swans or geese were nesting yet. I found this funny looking mallard. I know he’s saying “Stop staring at my funny feathers on my head.”

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There were two swan couples building nests.

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The usual “limpkin with a snail” shot.

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The black swans were posing for me.

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And staying busy preening since mating season was starting.

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Snowy egret in the early morning.

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