White pelicans are true “snow birds”. You only see them in Florida in the winter and even then it’s rare to see them. For the last several years there have been a few hanging around Lake Morton in downtown Lakeland (also know for their resident swans that live on the lake). I had seen a few earlier in the winter but when I stopped by to see if any of the swans had babies yet in mid-March, the lake was full of white pelicans. They were busy fishing and didn’t notice me at all standing on the side of the lake.
They seemed to be herding the fish into the vegetation and then scooping up the fish. You would think that after doing this all day they would eat all of the fish in this little lake. I went back several weeks later and all of the white pelicans were gone. I”m assuming they moved on to another pond or left to head up north. I realized when I cropped that last shot that there was a northern shoveler swimming in front of them.
Many of the pelicans were busy preening or flying around.
Lots of spoonbills in the marsh mixed in with the ibis.
Must have been some good snacks in the marsh this morning I was at Circle B Bar Reserve in late January.
Lots of white pelicans flying overhead but none were landing.
A great blue heron taking off.
I’ve only seen 2 blue wing teals this winter.
This sandhill crane was standing on a nest out in the marsh. I have since heard that this nest did not work but there are other crane couples out there nesting. It would be fun to have crane babies this spring.
It’s rare to see a lone white pelican. This guy was actually in the group below.
It’s beautiful to watch the white pelicans gracefully float around the water and feed. They don’t dive in head first to catch the fish like brown pelicans. They work in a group to herd the fish into shallower water. Bobbing up and down they look like they are synchronized fishing. I found them in a small lake in central Florida. They only stay here in the winter.
One swam under a water fountain in the middle of the lake.
There’s a small flock of white pelicans that spend their winters at Lake Morton in central Florida. I think they may stay there all year round now. They have become acclimated to having a lot of people around since this is a busy park. In mid April I stopped by to take their picture and they ignored me. Kids were running around and they slept through it. I guess it’s good that they feel comfortable here.
One of the fun outdoor things to do when my sisters are here for Christmas is to drive over to the Tampa Electric Company to see the manatees. The electric plant pulls in cold water to cool the plant and flushes out the warm water so the manatees spend the winter in the channel next to the plant where the water is warmer.
It’s always fun seeing the manatees floating around in the channel. Several of them were floating on their backs. Some of them only stick their noses out to get air.
They have a new stingray pool where you can pet them. You can also see them out in the channel swimming by.
The mangroves along the channel are covered in these black mangrove crabs.
White pelicans were flying high over our heads.
Pretty flower in the butterfly garden.
It was a beautiful day right before Christmas but too warm. 82 degrees is too hot for the end of December. It would have been nice to have long sleeves on when we were out running around. The tourist from up north didn’t seem to mind. I’m sure they were all happy to be out of the snow. The Manatee Viewing Center at TECO is only opened from November through April. Even though the weather was warm, there were still plenty of manatees to see.