I stopped by Lake Morton in Lakeland on the way home from Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-May. I usually see one or two wood duck couples there but on this trip they were all around the lake. Sleeping in the grass, hanging out on the swan fences, chasing each other. They must have been gathering for a baby making convention. I have not made it back over to the lake since then so I’m not sure it there were a lot of babies but I would hope so..
All of the usual suspects were there.
Feeding the fowl is encouraged at the lake although bread is extremely discouraged. They have feeders that are filled with pellets that you can buy a handful for a quarter. This lady was feeding them cracked corn.
Clouds were rolling in and it was time to go home for lunch.
Cleaning up for the ladies. It’s nesting time around the lake.
Seven swans a sleeping?
Posing for me.
“Got a cigarette lady” Talk about timing. I was taking pictures with my long lens of the swan preening far out in the lake when I heard a noise right in front of me on the edge of the lake and saw these two getting frisky. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and snapped these. More baby swans coming around the lake.
Wood duck on a log. He didn’t have a tag on so I’m thinking he’s a wild one that is just hanging out here for the food.
Spoonbill shaking off.
It’s rare to be this close to an osprey. Especially when they are taking a bath. This one was in the big aviary.
This wood stork was missing part of its wing.
Both eagles are missing a wing.
A rare white morph great blue heron was in the main pond. I didn’t see a tag on him. He’s got a beautiful face.
I made my annual winter trip up to Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park in mid-January. It was one of the first cold morning we have had. There was lots of bird activity at the park from injured birds that live there to the wild ones that fly in to visit. I took a ton of pictures so more on those to come.
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.
Look at that, a white pelican in the middle of the spoonbill and stork crowd. And, there are still a few coots left. Most of the coots flew north weeks ago.
I saw another white pelican swimming towards me. His wing looked funny.
It looks like he was a broken wing. When he flapped a few times, the wing was hanging down.
Is that why there are a few white pelican hanging around central Florida in mid-June? They knew their friend couldn’t fly any further so they stayed behind with him?
These three hung out together for a while feeding. I had heard the nature center at Circle B was keeping an eye out on him. He was finally caught and sent to the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in St. Pete. I have heard he lost that wing and is now a permanent resident at the sanctuary. He was being spoiled and seemed to be doing well there. I’ll be visiting him soon. I guess now all of his friends can head back up north for the summer.
So here is the debate – should he not have been caught and allowed to live out his last few weeks free in the lake. Eventually he may have been eaten by an alligator with that bad wing. Or, was the right thing done to save him and remove the broken wing so he can live out many years being feed at the sanctuary. Spending his life with other injured white pelicans? They have a nice big pen with a pool to go swimming and get fed tasty fish every day. I have friends who have different opinions on the outcome. What do you think?
On another note, this morning I read an interesting post from guest blogger Scott Wittle on Arthur Morris’s site, Bird As Art. Scott is a photo birder that Arthur met recently in Trinidad. He had a very interesting opinion about whether you can be a birder or photographer or both at the same time. I felt like he was talking to me. I’m out looking for wildlife and hope I can get a decent picture to record it. I’m not always out looking for the perfect picture. You can read his post here http://www.birdsasart-blog.com/2012/07/10/scott-whittle-photo-birder/. Let me know your thoughts on which is you.