I stopped by Lake Morton in downtown Lakeland on my way back from Lake Wales in late April. I wasn’t sure what I would find but I wasn’t expecting to see so many wood duck babies. The first family I saw had 7 babies. They were napping close to Mom (it was after lunch at this point).
Dad was standing near the family. These guys are usually pretty skittish so it was weird to see him walking around on the grass.
I found another family a little ways around the lake. This Mom had 4 babies (one was tucked under her).I think wood duck babies have the prettiest faces.
Farther around the lake and I found another Mom with just one baby.
A couple was swimming out in the middle of the lake.
On the other side of the lake another Mom had 7 babies and they were swimming around under the big leaves. As I stood there taking pictures, Mom came up on the rock and the babies followed.
Then I found a Mom with 3 babies.
There was one Muscovy family and I couldn’t resist taking pictures of those fuzzy yellow duckies.
This was a fun afternoon. The amount of wood ducks on this lake seem to get bigger every year. I’m assuming the numbers get smaller in the summer with some of them migrating north during the hot months. I usually don’t get over to Lakeland during the heat of the summer so I’m not sure.
I headed back to the bird rookery in north Tampa in mid-May for a quick trip out of the house. I figured most of the baby birds were grown up and they were, including the big baby egrets above. They were still waiting for Mom to come home with dinner.
I don’t think Mom was ready to get back to the nest. She stopped close by and took a break.
There were still a lot of cattle egrets in breeding colors but I didn’t see any babies. They usually nest much farther into the bushes.
The anhinga on the right was keeping an eye on the wood stork, making sure he didn’t get too close.
A few of the other birds included a little blue heron, a young night heron and a tricolored heron.
The anhingas were farther back on the little island. Mom was feeding an almost grown baby in the shot above. That doesn’t look comfortable having the baby stick it’s head down her throat.
The baby muscovy ducks were almost grown as well. They saw me get out of my car and came swimming over. “Sorry guys, no handouts from me.”
As soon as I got to the bird rookery in north Tampa in late April I look over and see a muscovy duck family resting in the shade. I snapped a couple of pictures and then realized they see me. They all popped up and came running over to me. “Not going to happen guys” I said. I’m not feeding them although I’m sure people who live in the nearby neighborhood do. After they realized I wasn’t going to feed them they got in the water and took off for a swim.
The wood storks were flying into the pond right near where I was standing and while getting a sip of water this one found a good stick to take back to the nest. He’s looking at me like “What do you think of my stick?”. I’m thinking “She’s going to kick you off the nest if you come back with that tiny stick.”
Wood storks were constantly flying over to surrounding trees and grabbing sticks to bring back to the nest.
True love is hard to find.
This guy was being lazy. Just watching all of the busy birds go by.
On my walk around Crescent Lake park in mid-August, I saw the above muscovy duck with babies. One was all yellow. It’s not uncommon for them to have all yellow ducks but usually as they grow up they start to get a lot of brown feathers in. This one was old enough to have brown feathers. He was really pretty.
The babies were resting in the grass.
Later on the other side of the lake I saw a family all sleeping huddled together under a tree. They were close to the sidewalk but the foot traffic was not disturbing them.
Another section of the lake had babies trying to cross the road. It was funny to watch them jump off the curb one by one. That seemed like such a big jump to them.
Of course they got right in the middle of the street and the babies plopped down on the road. Someone walked over and shooed them to the sidewalk since cars tend to go fast around this curve.
They all made it over to the sidewalk. Even in late summer, it’s a baby boom at the lake.
It’s that fun time of the year when there are baby ducks everywhere. This one Blondie in the family was so cute. It’s amazing they grow up to look like mom.
The three stooges standing on a pipe.
Beautiful swans at Lake Morton.
It felt like spring in late March.
A wood duck couple.
Family #1. I saw these babies coming home from work on a Friday night. I ran home and got my camera and took these from the car. They were relaxing in my neighbor’s yard. I think they were sleeping under the bushes there. This mom had 5 babies.
Family #2. I saw this family the next day coming home on a Saturday after a long walk at a nearby park. I had my camera in the car so I stopped. They were in the small pond in the back of the neighborhood. I sat down on the sidewalk and watched them playing in the water. This mom had 2 babies.
Family #3. I saw this family on Sunday coming home from running errands, down the street from my house. This family of 12 stayed close together.
A limpkin and his reflection trying to find snails.
A young red shoulder hawk landed on the boardwalk right in front of me. He sat there for a while looking around until someone walked up to him from the other side of the boardwalk and off he went.
Another adult red shoulder hawk up in a tree.
A common yellowthroat showing off.
A muscovy duck train in the parking lot.
Muscovy ducks have taken over my neighborhood. When I go out for an after dinner walk on Sundays I see ducks everywhere. Some of them come running up to me to see if I have food for them. Almost every week since mid July we have a new duck family with babies. These were all taken with my phone.
Now we have chickens too. One of our neighbors has 4 chickens and they let them out in the front yard sometimes. The chickens wander up and down the street but always end up back in their own yard at some point. I sometimes see them sleeping under the truck that is in the driveway. I guess these are real “free range” chickens.
Linking to Wednesday Around The World