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.
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.
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.
The pretty white pelicans will be gone soon. They will be heading north for the summer. I’ve only seen one at this lake all winter until recently. They must be stopping over for a rest before their long flight home.
The resident swans are all priming and flirting. Several couples are already sitting on eggs.
Which one doesn’t belong?
Floating through the lily pads.
Imagine using your mouth to clean your foot. Or maybe he’s using his foot to clean his mouth?
Taking a bath.
Friends hanging out together.
Lady ruddy duck floating by.
Time to take down the tree.
Last one there is a rotten duck.
“I’m the man!”
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.
I think that lizard isn’t going to make it.
I thought all of the winter ducks had gone north by now but this ring necked duck was still hanging around.
Black swan preening.
At first glance I didn’t think there were any baby swans yet. All of the moms were sitting down on the nest. Then a swan got up to move around and I could just barely make out the little fuzzballs under her. They still looked wet so they must have been born that morning. It was around lunchtime when I stopped by the lake. She still had two more to hatch.
One of the little babies was pretty wet and fumbling around.
Mom was right there watching them. Dad was close by right next to the nest. I took these through the reeds so they are a little fuzzy.
How cute is that face???
Across the lake was another new mom. This nest had 3 eggs and only one has hatched so far.
I was sitting on the grass and zoomed in on mom’s beak. Yuck. It almost looks like she has tiny teeth.
It feels like spring when the baby animals start popping up everywhere.
Linking up to Saturday’s Critters
Mom keeping an eye on everyone.
The gray one on the left was born only 18 hours earlier. The beige ones were born the day before.
“You guys make good pillows.”
The youngest one is ready for a nap.
“What am I suppose to do with these big feet?”
“Is there a bug on my neck?”
Parting butt shot.
A shot of the nest with my phone.
I hadn’t planned on stopping by Lake Morton. I was on my way to Circle B Bar Reserve which is only 10 minutes away. It was drizzling on the way to Lakeland and I was thinking I didn’t want to get out on the trails and it start to rain. As I got closer to Lakeland I decided to stop by Lake Morton first and then see how the weather holds up an hour later. I got to the little lake around 8am. I was driving around looking for a good spot to park when I saw a group of people hanging around a swan nest. I thought “There must be babies there.” I parked and walked over and there they were. Three of the cutest fuzz balls ever. Not even 2 days old. The park was taking the babies and raising them offsite due to the thefts of eggs and babies last year so these little ones were probably going to be gone by that afternoon. I was lucky to spend an hour watching them move around. They did not leave the nest while I was there. Both parents were close by. There is also a camera high up in a tree keeping an eye on the nest as well so everyone was on their best behavior. Many people stopped by for a few minutes to get a look at them. How could they not melt your heart?
The sun started to peak out after an hour so I left and headed to the reserve.
Too see more amazing swan family pictures, check out Kim’s blog. She lives near the lake and has caught many wonderful moments of the babies with their parents.
Check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for
Baby swans are like cotton balls with feet and a beak. There were two at Lake Morton in Lakeland the morning I stopped by. The first picture was of a baby in a pen. The park rangers put the baby with the parents in a pen for a few weeks until the baby gets a little older and is not so vulnerable to all the dangers. There are a lot there. Eagles and hawks fly over and grab tiny things. Geese, ducks and other swans fight over territory and can be aggressive towards babies. Dogs in the neighborhoods around the lake can get out. It’s a scary life for a baby swan. The fenced in pens have space on the lake as well as grass for them to stay on.
I had been stopping by the lake almost every weekend for a while checking for babies with no luck. Finally, I got word from Jess that she had seen a baby on Friday afternoon and that by Monday the park rangers would put it in the pen. I met up with her on Sunday morning thinking I would stop for a quick visit and ended up staying for almost 3 hours. These cute little fuzz balls stole our hearts and everyone else’s who stopped by. We also saw a handful of baby ducks that morning. More on those later.