Last week Rich and I were in Lakeland to judge the Florida State Science and Engineering Fair. We had a great time talking to the students about their projects. Afterward, I twisted Rich’s arm into taking a nice walk around nearby Lake Morton. I wanted to see if the Mute Swans were nesting yet – and yes, they are! Two hours and a gorgeous sunset later, I had a cardful of images, and Rich was still patiently waiting to leave… What a nice hubby!
The White Ibises were in spectacular breeding plumage. Their legs, faces, and beaks turn bright red, and the females get a little pouch under their chins in the height of breeding season. I had one such female pose right in front of me with the blue lake water as a background. I love how the background brings out the blue in her eye.
The Ring-Billed Gulls were very unafraid of people – they are fed all the time, and they allow photographers to walk right up to them. Rich didn’t know what to think when I laid down to get face-to-face with one, hehe!
I was ecstatic when a pair of Wood Ducks flew down in front of me. Wood Ducks are typically very skittish, and I have almost no good images of them. At Bok Tower, you can find them at Window by the Pond, but you usually scare them when you enter the little blind. Sometimes I can find them at Circle B, but almost always in flight (and far away). So I sat and watched and listened to these guys for a while.
This White Ibis needed to stretch his wings – badly! He kept walking around with them stretched straight up. I sure wasn’t going to object.
To Rich’s relief, we finally circled back around close to the car…and then he spotted the baby Mallards. Clearly, we were not going to leave anytime soon! The babies were sidelit, and they spent most of their time in the vegetation. But then Mama brought them to the water’s edge and up to the duck feeding box. Yay! Such cute little guys…
The Mallard chicks were not the only ones happy to chow down on the duck food. To my surprise, as I lay there photographing the babies, a male Wood Duck came strutting up to eat his share. What a great end to a fun day!