“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.

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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