As I wrote yesterday, my friend Carla came with me on a photography expedition last weekend. We first visited the Circle B Bar Reserve, and then we headed to Lake Morton. Carla saw her first swan’s nest!
The beautiful Mute Swans are nesting all around the lake right now. We counted at least eight nests. The City of Lakeland has roped them off this year and posted a sign by each explaining that it is illegal to tamper with the swans or their eggs. I was so glad to see this after last year’s disturbing egg thefts. Last year I had the privilege to photograph a cygnet (baby swan) on the nest on the day that it was born. It was incredible! I hope this year’s babies fare better.
Speaking of babies, we found a small family of Mallards with very young chicks. They were so cute! I heard their little calls at about the same time that Carla said, “Jess! Look at the babies!” They posed for a minute for us. I love how the mom and dad seem to be showing off their babies, and the baby on the front right is posing too, but the one on the left is off looking for trouble. There’s one of those in every family!
There are still some American White Pelicans at Lake Morton. I’ve loved these birds ever since seeing the huge flocks roosting at the Circle B Bar Reserve. At Lake Morton they often come close to the shore for up-close shots. It always surprises me just how big they are.
Carla and I watched this Mallard taking a bath. He had such a good time splashing around, throwing water everywhere. I knew as I watched that he would do a wing-flap after he finished. I set my camera to its highest capture speed and waited. He rewarded me with not one, but two wing flaps. Nice!
We continued walking around the lake, watching people feed the birds. A person with bread always attracts a noisy crowd. Then we found a different crowd…several Mallards were mating. It was a total circus! The two ducks in question were surrounded by other Mallards and a bunch of White Ibises. Everybody was fussing and making a commotion, trying to get as close as possible to the action. It was hilarious! When I reviewed my images I actually saw that there were three birds mating at once, a little sandwich stacked three high! I’ve never seen that before. I felt sorry for the one on the bottom.
We circled back around to the car, and I saw something that made me think of my friend Kim’s blog that documents all the quiet wonders of this little lake. She had a beautiful post recently about sharing roses and friendship. I wondered if her friend had left this rose here in the shade of a tree, hoping that someone would notice it and smile. I know I sure did. :)
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!