Getting up close with Florida critters.

Up close with a ruddy duck.

And black bellied whistling ducks.  One was missing an eye

A pretty lady wood duck.

A very important sign.  Even the night heron standing in front of it should not be fed.

“Hooo’s there?” said the burrowing owl.

Crawling critters behind glass.

Growing inside the aquarium, the beauty berry can be see in the many of the parks around Tampa. The birds and critters eat the berries.

On the wall in the aquarium, this would make cool wallpaper.

A few things from a recent trip to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa.  When it’s too hot to see the fishies from the beach, it’s time to head inside at the aquarium.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Lots of birds at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

DSC_6949DSC_6953

Lots of robins in the trees.

DSC_6973

White pelicans were floating around.

DSC_7205

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.

DSC_7037

Spoonbill shaking off.

DSC_7025

It’s rare to be this close to an osprey. Especially when they are taking a bath. This one was in the big aviary.

DSC_7307

This wood stork was missing part of its wing.

DSC_7047

DSC_7220

Both eagles are missing a wing.

DSC_7209

DSC_7213

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.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Cute and cool at the lake.

DSC_8738

DSC_8740

DSC_8761

DSC_8748

DSC_8753

DSC_8719

What is it about little ducklings that are so cute???

DSC_8744

Even hybrid mallards are cute when they are sleeping.

DSC_8727

The wood duck is just cool, posing for me.

DSC_8716

DSC_8736

Another cool duck, the shelduck is not native to Florida. The city of Lakeland bought them for the downtown lake.

DSC_8728

Even grackles eat fish.

The usual things sleeping and floating around Lake Mirror.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Standing in one spot taking pictures

DSC_1089

It’s always fun seeing a cormorant trying to gulp down a big fish.

DSC_1107

Wood duck reflection.

DSC_1149

I think this is a male american goldfinch in his winter feathers. He was high up in the trees and didn’t sit still for a minute. I rarely see these here.

DSC_1161

Great blue heron hopping around in the trees.

DSC_1243

There were a lot of great blue heron nests high up in the trees. It was hard to see up there but this nest had two babies that were almost grown.

DSC_1170

Green heron hanging around.

DSC_1225

Most of these birds were not tagged. They might just be hanging out with the permanently injured birds for the winter.

DSC_1285

This is a white morph great blue heron. I’ve never seen one here before and this is 2nd time I’ve ever seen one. He wasn’t tagged so I’m not sure if he is just stopping by for a quick visit.

DSC_1364

A great egret trying to catch some minnows and coming up with a beak full of leaves.

I made my annual trip to Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park in early March. It’s a safe haven for permanently injured birds and other Florida animals.  A lot of wild birds and ducks hang out there to get free food. Some come in to nest in the trees over the water.  There’s always a lot to take pictures of at the park. Sometimes in nice not to have to run around in the woods looking for tiny birds high up in the trees. Sometimes it’s nice to just stand in one place and take lots of pictures.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Rainy walk around Lake Morton

DSC_8774

This muscovy duck was checking me out. Most of the ducks come pretty close to see if you have food to give them.

DSC_8776

One of my favorite hybrid ducks at the lake. He’s pretty with the black and white body and yellow beak.

DSC_8785

One lone white pelican still hanging around the lake. All of his friends have gone north for the summer. He looked okay so I’m not sure why he’s still hanging around.

DSC_8855

A male wood duck standing on one of the old swan pens along the lake.

DSC_8865

One of the cottonball heads shaking off.

DSC_8869

I realized he’s missing an eye. I don’t remember any of them missing an eye before.

DSC_8871

The other eye was fine.

DSC_8873

Unusual couple watching me.

DSC_8878

The powder puff male mallard is still there.

DSC_8812

As I was walking around the lake, I ran into some people feeding the wildlife. They were throwing bread to the birds. At least some people bring dried corn to feed them so it’s not always bad bread.

DSC_8827

Chaos started as birds from across the lake realized someone had food. They all came over.  The storks started grabbing bread.

DSC_8835

Everyone wants a handout. I guess they get tired of eating bugs and fish all the time.

DSC_8837

The great blue heron flew in and got a few bites.

DSC_8881

I left Lake Morton and headed over to Lake Mirror, just 5 minutes away. It was quiet there with only a few ducks close to the shore. I immediately saw this female mandarin duck.

DSC_8885

Then I found the male mandarin duck on the grass. These are not native ducks. The city purchased them because they were pretty and would look good floating around the lake downtown.

DSC_8890

At first he jumped in the water and headed for his girlfriend.

DSC_8902

As I sat down on the grass, the male came back up on shore. He seemed curious and headed towards me. He came really close and then headed back into the water. Again, I think he was looking to see if I had food to give him.

DSC_8983

The couple chilling out along the lake.

DSC_8973

Another strange hybrid couple.

It rained all weekend in mid-April. I wanted to get over to Lakeland to see if any of the swan eggs had hatched yet. I thought maybe I’d get lucky and the rain would   stop. No such luck. It drizzled the entire time I was walking around both lakes. At one point it starting raining heavier and I was walking around with my rain slicker on and trying to juggle an umbrella. By lunch, it was not going to clear up so I headed home. At least I got my walk in that morning.

Weird ducks

DSC_7846

Some type of mallard hybrid. There are so many different ducks at the lakes in downtown Lakeland. They are all one big family now.

DSC_7852

Another hybrid. This one is unusual looking.

DSC_7857

Hybrid family sticking close together.

DSC_7875

I don’t think this is a hybrid but I can’t find it in my Stokes Birding Guide.

DSC_7873

Taking a bath.

DSC_7884

I’m guessing a juvenile wood duck. Maybe a female one. This one was so cute. She was not skittish at all.

DSC_7886

Posing for me.

DSC_7891

“Wait, I’ve got an itch.”

I went looking for the new duck (shelduck) at Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland last month. While I was there I noticed all the different looking ducks swimming around. There’s a huge population of mallards, muscovy and white ducks. They all seem to be getting along pretty well. There’s a handful of wood ducks but they always keep to themselves. The other ducks congregate together. People are constantly feeding them so they come close to the edge of the lake. Technically, I think it’s illegal to feed the wildlife including ducks. At some of the parks I visit, there are signs saying “Do not feed the wildlife including ducks.” There are no signs at the lakes in downtown Lakeland except for the ones saying not to feed the swans in the pens. They get fed by the city when they have babies. So I’m not sure if it’s different by county. These ducks fill up on snacks such as bread and pretzels, chip, etc. I’m sure that’s not healthy for them. They should be eating bugs.  Although, if I was a duck I wouldn’t want to eat bugs either.

Camera Critters

Duck, Duck, Goose

DSC_8844

Wood duck hiding in the shade.

DSC_8919

Ruddy duck floating around the lake. This guy should have gone north by now.

DSC_8942

Powder puff head still cruising around the lake looking for handouts.

DSC_8945

Interesting hybrid floating around.

DSC_8951

The geese were watching me. Checking to see if I had any food.

DSC_8957

The magnolias are out in full force.

DSC_8906

Not sure what this tree is. It looks a bit like forsythia but aren’t those bushes?

Another walk around Lake Morton looking for baby animals. There were plenty of baby ducks but at this time in late April there were still no baby swans. I was finally able to get a swan family though in early May.

LorikArt