Starting the year with a little cleaning.

This beautiful young mute swan was taking a bath at Lake Morton in late November.

The white ducks are cute but aggressive, looking for a handout.

Ibis flyby.

One of the black necked swans at the lake.

A wood duck and a ring billed duck couple.

The cypress trees were turning orange.

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Baby swans on a hot spring morning.

A female wood duck up above and her 4 juvenile babies hanging out on a rock.

It’s always fun to see the baby swans.

Across the street from the lake, in front of the library in Lakeland, there were still 2 swans sitting on nests. At least they had a good shady spot away from the crowds and a nice view of the lake.

Two butterflies together on the street. Where they mating? I’ve never seen this before.

Photographing New Zealand

 

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.

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Lots of birds at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

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Lots of robins in the trees.

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White pelicans were floating around.

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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.

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Spoonbill shaking off.

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

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This wood stork was missing part of its wing.

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Both eagles are missing a wing.

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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.

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Cute and cool at the lake.

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

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Even hybrid mallards are cute when they are sleeping.

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The wood duck is just cool, posing for me.

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

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Even grackles eat fish.

The usual things sleeping and floating around Lake Mirror.

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Standing in one spot taking pictures

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

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Wood duck reflection.

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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.

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Great blue heron hopping around in the trees.

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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.

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Green heron hanging around.

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

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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.

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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.

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Rainy walk around Lake Morton

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

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

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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.

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

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One of the cottonball heads shaking off.

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

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The other eye was fine.

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Unusual couple watching me.

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The powder puff male mallard is still there.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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The couple chilling out along the lake.

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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 mix of birds at the Florida Botanical Gardens

Wood stork high up in the tree. He was all alone.

Red bellied woodpecker has a big nut. I think he was hiding it in the hole.

Pileated woodpecker on a utility pole. These birds have done a lot of damage to the poles there. You can see where they try to patch them up but the woodpeckers just move and create new holes.

A lone female wood duck. I found her in a small pond behind the old butterfly garden.

Red bellied woodpecker and easter phoebe were sitting in the same tree. I could hear the phoebe singing from across the lake.

Wild monk parakeet hanging on a pole. There’s a small flock that always seem to be around the gardens.

I finally made it over to the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo after trying the weekend before and getting deterred by a huge crowd coming for an event. This Saturday morning it was quiet. I could even hear that phoebe singing all morning.  There wasn’t anything unusual there. But still, it was a nice morning out and I got a good 2 hour walk in.

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Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for

Wood duck babies and some geese

Walking around the lake, I see these little fuzz balls. I think they must be mallard babies.

No, they are wood duck babies, in Atlanta.

The babies were playing.

A few Canadian geese float by.

I see a large bird across the lake. I snapped the picture and cropped it up and couldn’t believe there was a great blue heron in the middle of Atlanta. I had never seen a heron in Atlanta before.

On one of the steamy hot mornings during our trip to Atlanta, hubby and I decided to go for a walk around a small lake that sits on the Emery college campus. It’s halfway surrounded by student housing. I never knew it was there when I lived there. Most of trail is shaded so at least the heat wasn’t bad unless we were in the sun. Since it’s was the middle of summer, there weren’t any students hanging around. It was a quiet morning. I was not surprised to see ducks and geese but was surprised to see the wood ducks. I guess since they are pretty rare in the Tampa bay area I figured they wouldn’t be in central Atlanta.  And then to see the great blue heron. The nearest coastline is 4 hours away. Was he lost or has there always been herons hanging around the city? On the trail back to the parking lot, I stopped to check out a pair of downy woodpeckers chasing each other high up in the trees. As I was pointing them out to hubby, he noticed a hummingbird flying right in front of us. Of course I didn’t get a shot of that. It was dark in the woods and he was flying around so fast and then took off.  What a nice way to kill a few hours before hubby’s favorite Atlanta taco stand was open for lunch.

Wood ducks taking a bath

He says “You know women, always washing their hair.”

Drying off.

“All ready for bed?”

“No, wait. I still feel a little dirty.”

“Now I’m done.”

He says “I’m never a dirty duck.”

Right before I spotted the baby limpkins at Kapok Park, I ran into this wood duck couple. It was getting late and the sun had gone down behind the trees.  I slowly walked up to the edge of the creek and looked down and saw them. I figured they would immediately start swimming the other way but they did not seem bothered by me standing there. I sat down on the grass and watched them for a few minutes. The female stayed busy preening and bathing and then they both hopped up on the rocks and looked like they were settling in for the night.