Showing off on Lake Morton

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.

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“They paved paradise and put a parking lot”

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Late in the afternoon, all of the deer were napping deep in the woods.  I could see a few of them from the boardwalk but they were trying to hide.

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A little blue heron walking around near the boardwalk.

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A lone ring neck duck in one of the smaller ponds.

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I was looking around the boardwalk for gators and saw the above instead.

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Furry faces in the trees.

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The cypress trees are starting to turn.

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A hawk on the way home.

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I stopped by the horse farm on the way home to see if the eagles were back.  They abandoned the nest in the old tree last year and did not have babies. Some say the old dead tree was rotting and about to fall over and that’s why they left. Most think it was due to new houses that were going up around the horse farm.  The farm was surrounded by trees and last winter a developer came in and wiped out all of the tree and started a new neighborhood.  I didn’t expect to find them and was thinking they were gone forever. As I was driving out a different way, I saw the above on a utility tower. There’s an old osprey nest in the tower. Only time will tell if they take over the osprey nest and have babies here. It’s sad to think they are out of that great tree but at least they would still be having families.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Duck action at Lake Morton

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An unusual looking hybrid.  Looks like a cross between a mallard and a muscovy duck.

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A baby mallard in December!

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A coot and a gull fighting over bread that someone threw in the lake.

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Duck butts!

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A lone female bufflehead. Not a common duck here.

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A ring neck duck taking a bath.

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Drying off.

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I cannot figure out what kind of duck this is.  Is it a hybrid of some sort? I’ve only seen one at the lake. That pink beak and the pink legs are amazing as well as the eyes.

I found out today that this is a Coscoroba swan. It is the smallest of all swans and comes from South America.  The city of Lakeland bought a pair for the lake last January. At this point there is only one at the lake.

There are so many different ducks at Lake Morton in downtown Lakeland. They are known for having swans on the lake but there are a lot more ducks there and so many different ones. It’s fun just to walk around and look at all the duck action going on.

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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.

Finding fuzzballs around the lake.

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I think that lizard isn’t going to make it.

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I thought all of the winter ducks had gone north by now but this ring necked duck was still hanging around.

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Black swan preening.

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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.

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One of the little babies was pretty wet and fumbling around.

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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.

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How cute is that face???

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Across the lake was another new mom.  This nest had 3 eggs and only one has hatched so far.

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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

Shine the Divine

Swans in the fog

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Swans in the fog.

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Cruising by.

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Gotta itch!

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Another itch!

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Black swan with friends.

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Posing for me.

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Mallard with a hybrid following behind.

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The lake was of ring neck ducks.

The morning I went looking for the bufflehead at Lake Morton was foggy. When I got to the lake I couldn’t see across it the fog was so thick. A few swans came close to the edge of the lake. Luckily the fog lifted fairly quickly and I found the bufflehead so off I went to another park.

Back at Circle B Bar Reserve after 5 months away.

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Sad picture but I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a yellow-bellied sapsucker here. I’ve only seen them in Atlanta.

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Blue gray gnatcatcher looking up as usual.

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I’m not sure what this is. He was deep in the bushes. I’m thinking a yellow warbler but that would be too easy.

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This looks like a palm warbler. They are pretty common here in the winter (which translates into “you’ll be seeing a ton of these on the blog”).

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Some type of sparrow. I think it’s a Savannah sparrow with that little bit of yellow around the eyes.

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The eastern phoebes have returned to their usual winter spot at the corner of Marsh Rabbit Run trail and Heron Hideout trail.

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The stork tree, out in the middle of the lake.

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Ring neck duck reflection. There has been one ring neck duck hanging around Wading Bird Way lately. I guess he’s waiting for all of his “snowbird” duck friends to get down here.

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This is the only alligator I saw on this trip. I know there are tons of them there.

This was my first trip back to Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland since May. It was early October so there still wasn’t a lot of migrating ducks there but there were a few little birds moving through. Seeing palm warblers, blue gray gnatcatchers and eastern phoebes means that winter is on its way. Now if only the heat would go away. Under 80 degrees would be nice. The park looked the same, except for the overgrown weeds along the trail. Those will die down once the cold weather hits. The park also recently mowed the trails so it’s good to see ahead and not to have to worry about alligators popping out in front of you. Soon I’ll be heading out there often.

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