Weird ducks


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


Another hybrid. This one is unusual looking.


Hybrid family sticking close together.


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


Taking a bath.


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


Posing for me.


“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

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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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.

Saying goodbye to grown up baby owls

I found one of the baby owls high up in the tree scratching an itch.

The older sibling was even higher up sleeping. I found him through an opening in the branches.

Wood duck floating down the river by the owl tree.

A hawk flies by.

Butterflies and flowers are now everywhere.

After my trip to Fort Desoto to see the new owl family, I decided to stop by Kapok Park on the way home to see the two baby owls there one last time. I had heard they were flying around from branch to branch and really hard to find now that they have left the nest. Soon they’ll leave the park for good. I got there hoping to find them one last time. I kept looking high up in the tree and finally found the first one when it moved to scratch. I decided to walk around the boardwalk for a while and walking back I saw the other owl high up through the branches sitting in the sun. They grow up so fast. Now that they are grown up I’ll probably have the park all to myself. Just me, the dog walkers and joggers. There’s still a lot of great stuff there even without the owls. Now that it’s light after work, I’ll head there for a walk before heading home often.

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