Lake Morton and Circle B Bar Reserve

I do have sad news. Morty, the wild turkey that had been living at Lake Morton for a few months was found dead in the lake. He made it long past Thanksgiving and Christmas. I haven’t heard what had caused it but that’s a tough lake to live on. So many aggressive swans and muscovy ducks there. No one ever said where he came from, he just showed up at the lake and stayed for a while.  I had taken the above in early December.

Ducks were already getting frisky in early December even though we still had a cold spell to get through.

This morning it was dark and cloudy and I was standing at the lake watching the ducks when an eagle fly by. Since the lake was quiet, I left and headed over to Circle B Bar Reserve.

It was a quiet morning. A swamp sparrow came out from the bushes and the trail was full of blue gray gnatcatchers as usual.

Nothing new on the trail this morning. It wasn’t until a visit in late January that I saw a new bird but more on that later.

I did see this mom and her two almost grown kids just walking down the trail. They would stop and sniff into the bushes but then pop back out on the trail and continue to cruise. Raccoon butts are so cute! They stayed in front of me on the trail for a while.

Even though it was quiet it was still a good walk.  I didn’t stay too long, in by 8am and out by 10am.

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Hanging out with some funny faces

I found some new friends at Horsepower for Kids Sanctuary in late November. The toucan is a fairly new resident and was very friendly (he was surrendered by his owner).

You don’t often see white turkeys.

The ducks were being their usual cute selves in the big pond.

Roosters have a run of the sanctuary. Some are skittish and stay in the bushes and some will walk right up to you.

The big shells were enjoying their breakfast.

This guy was showing off.

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Meet Morton

Since mid-October there’s been a wild turkey hanging out at Lake Morton near downtown Lakeland. At least everyone thinks she’s wild. There’s a few parks and preserves close by so she could have wandered far off her path and ended up here. The neighborhood did a naming poll and the name Morton stuck. She seemed pretty domesticated to me. I found her as I was walking around the lake and she came pretty close to me. People have probably been feeding her. All of the turkeys I’ve seen out in the woods are very skittish and run away pretty quickly. She better be hiding this week.

She was strutting around like she owned the lake. There are brick retaining walls in a few places around the lake and the white pelicans along with the ducks like to nap there. She walked up to the pelicans which are much bigger than her and chased them off the wall.

She then strutted over to another wall and chased the ducks away. The pelicans had moved on and were climbing up onto another wall and she went over and chased them again. She was causing a lot of chaos this morning. It will be interesting to see how long she’s there.

Hot morning at Horsepower for Kids.

The ducks were cooling off with a bath at Horsepower for Kids Animal Sanctuary in late June. It made me want to jump in with them and go for a swim.

I decided not to jump in the pond since the geese own the pond and they are aggressive.

Even the tricolored heron was cooling off in the water.

I’m not sure if this white pigeon was a resident or just a visitor. He wasn’t in a cage. 

Some of the chickens hanging around.

Jealous of this guy sleeping (maybe not in the dirt though).

Close ups of the faces at the petting zoo.

A Saturday morning walk around the petting zoo.

 

Other animals at the reserve

This turkey made it through Thanksgiving weekend. He seemed a little skittish when I saw him just off the trail in early November.

I saw  Oreo (resident black and white feral hog) in the swamp near the nature center.

Other critters along the trail. It was interesting to see the squirrel eating a big mushroom.

A few tiny critters at Circle B Bar Reserve in early November.

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Last walk at Circle B until Fall.

Sushi for breakfast.

Walking down the trail I could hear a baby bird calling overhead. Looking up I saw this juvenile red shoulder hawk up in the tree.

Then I realized that Mom was a tree over with a frog trying to get the baby to follow her over. The baby wanted Mom to come feed it but Mom was trying to get him to fly over.

These baby turkeys were very skittish. Mom was keeping an eye on me.

Lots of young alligators along the trail.

Everything was green when I last was at Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-May. Now it’s too hot to walk there and the main trails are usually closed due to alligators mating and nesting close by until at least October so I’ll be staying close to home or the coast.

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“Farm living is the life for me”

I’m having fun hanging out with the farm animals. Having not grown up around them, I find them interesting. With that said, it’s fun to watch them for a while and then go home to my house near the city in Tampa. I’m not sure if I would love them if I had to do the chores that go with keeping them.   These were all from my trip to Sweetfields Farm north of Tampa one Sunday morning in late May.

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Random fun at the Lowry Park Zoo

Residents at the zoo, these macaws get to fly around from the entrance to the stage area for the bird show. I caught them flying around one morning and they stopped for a break.

Residents of the zoo. The stork (middle picture) was born this spring at the zoo.

A few wild things visiting the zoo. A northern parula and mallard.

Pretty green and pink.

Fun animals.

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