Ducks and swans at Lake Mirror

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What a pretty pair. These are the only two black necked swans at Lake Morton.

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Male wood duck snoozing as he’s cruising.

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One of the fairly new mandarin ducks that live at Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland. These ducks are not native here. They were acquired by the city since they look “pretty”.

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Now he’s just showing off. When I first saw the couple early this spring they had just been placed on the lake. They were very skittish and stayed far away from the other ducks and people. This trip they were in front of the crowd when people were feeding the ducks. They came close to the edge so I guess they are getting used to the place.

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Female mandarin duck.

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A new duck! The city now has two shelducks. They are very pretty. Although, they don’t look that much different from all of the other hybrid mallards that are there. I was wondering how you would buy a duck pair.  You can buy a pair of shelducks on efowl.com for $175.00. Interesting.

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They were not shy. They came close the edge of the lake.

I had heard about the new ducks at Lake Mirror and stopped by there recently on my way home from Circle B Bar Reserve. It’s only a 15 minute drive from the reserve. Lake Mirror is smaller than Lake Morton, which is only a couple of streets over. Both have swans and ducks that live there. It was a perfect beautiful day in late October and I wasn’t quite ready to go home. The area around the lake was packed with people. Everyone was out enjoying the day and tons of people were feeding the ducks. It will be interesting to see if the new couple have babies next spring.

Camera Critters

A hovering kingfisher – Skywatch Friday

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Standing on the edge of the lake watching an osprey go by, I saw a belted kingfisher out of the corner of my eye and was able to catch him.

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Several times he whizzed by. Male kingfishers have an all white stomach. Female ones have a rust color stripe across their stomach.

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He flew far out in the middle of the lake and was hovering.

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He spots something.

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Down he goes in a deep dive. He hit the water but did not come up with a fish.

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He flew around and came back, hovering again.

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He hovered for a few minutes then took off over the trees. That was the last I saw of him that morning. Kingfishers are “snow” birds down here. They only stay for the winter and then head back north to have their babies in the summer. I started  seeing them in early October. Every winter we have one that visits our dock a couple of times. I haven’t seen her yet but it’s still early. They have a very distinctive voice but are very skittish.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

Plovers and terns and gulls, Oh my!

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Another banded piping plover. There’s been a lot of them hanging around Fort Desoto this fall. Several birders have been keeping tabs on them and reporting them as they travel through.

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I sat down on the beach and watched him go about his morning.

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He was eating something goopy looking.

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Portrait of a sandwich tern.

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I think this is a Forster’s tern in winter feathers, hanging around the boat ramp.

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Sandwich terns all lined up, waiting for boats to come back with bait fish.

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“Who let all of the sandwich terns into my park??” says the loud laughing gull.

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The spotted sandpipers are back for the winter, sporting their winter feathers.

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Laughing gulls lose their black feathers on their head during the winter.

Lots of little birds on the beach at Fort Desoto in early October. Nothing unusual though.

Camera Critters

Watching a white bird that’s suppose to be red.

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On a Saturday morning, I was up at the north beach marsh at Fort Desoto when I saw a scuttle going on across the marsh. Two reddish egrets were fighting over something. Maybe feeding space? The one on the right is a white morph version of the reddish egret. While they are common in the Caribbean, there are only a few that hang around this beach and I don’t see them very often.

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The reddish egret chased the white morph away.

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He landed right in front of me.

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He seemed to be trying to recover from the scuttle.

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Now he’s just trying to be cool. Giving me a high five (really scratching an itch).

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He pranced around in front of me.

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“Get a good picture lady.”

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He wandered closer to the reeds and started dancing around looking for food but he never raised his wings like they usually do. They raise their wings to shade the water so they can see the fish better. I wonder if he’s a juvenile. One of the bird stewards had told me there was a breeding pair there, a reddish egret and white morph. They have had babies in the past.

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He seemed a little lost and wasn’t quite sure what to do.

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After a while it was time to leave and I still hadn’t seen him catch a fish. Maybe he just wasn’t hungry.

It was a quiet morning but at least I got to watch him walking around. He came pretty close to me and I kept backing up to fit him in my 300mm lens. There were other shorebirds around but nothing too exciting. At least the sun was out. I feel like I hadn’t seen it much in the past month. If it wasn’t for that slight breeze coming off the water I probably would have passed out from heat stroke.