There were lots of Ring-necked and Ruddy Ducks sleeping on the lake. It was my first opportunity to see a male Ruddy. They are pretty. The Ruddys stayed out in the middle of the lake, but the Ring-neckeds came in close. Dyeyo and I both had opportunities to photograph them full-frame. It almost felt too easy, setting up on the side of the lake and photographing all the birds going by.
We’ve heard that several hundred American White Pelicans were roosting at the lake. We got there around 10:00 in the morning, and we found three pelicans. They mostly hung out in the middle of the lake, standing on the little platform around the Christmas tree. They made a pretty funny sight, out there with the Double-Crested Cormorants. I want to go back in the early morning to see if more are roosting there in the evenings. They tend to fly off pretty early.
There were so many swans! I thought the two swans at Bok Tower were cool. There must be fifty at Lake Morton! They are very used to people (and handouts!) As soon as they see you, they approach you, hoping that you will give them food. These guys were rather disappointed because Dyeyo and I didn’t bring them anything, but they still stayed around hoping.
The other hopefuls were the Ring-Billed Gulls. A little boy and his mom were feeding them as Dyeyo and I approached. We took advantage of the opportunity to get flight shots as the birds flew in squawking. I waited for the birds that flew in from up high, so that I could get shots without the buildings of Lakeland in the background.
After the feeding ended, the birds stayed, posing right in front of me. Some were so close that I could not focus on them! (Isn’t that a nice problem to have?) Head shots were easy with such cooperative subjects…
We ran into my friend Dina, who stood watching with us as the clouds moved in. We begged a pelican to move in closer, but he didn’t listen. As we talked, a Redhead flew in right in front of us. What a fun end to a good morning!
Want to learn more about nature photography at Lake Morton?
Check out my Lake Morton page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!