Say Hello to Mrs. Cottonball Head


The residents of Lakeland must have thought I was crazy last weekend.  I was lying on the ground around Lake Morton, and I noticed lots of people slowing down to watch me.  I guess a crazy lady with a big camera does make people wonder what she’s shooting.  Could it be a beautiful and delicate swan cygnet?  A fun family of baby Limpkins?  A wonderful rare bird?

Nope.  I was trying to get head shots of Mrs. Cottonball Head!

Mrs. Cottonball Head
Mrs. Cottonball Head

The white Pekin ducks are some of the funniest at Lake Morton’s menagerie.  They often hang out in groups of three, and they always come running up to me to beg for bread.  I call them the “Three Stooges.”  Some of the stooges have cottonball crests on their heads.  They seem so proud of those fluffy heads!

Scratchin' an Itch
Scratchin’ an Itch

I was pleased to find this cooperate cottonball head, and she posed for me for quite a long time.  She had a piece of leaf stuck to her beak.  I told her that it wasn’t very photogenic.  She didn’t seem to care.

It's Tough Preening your Neck!
It’s Tough Preening your Neck!

Later I came across another pair of ducks, one with a cottonball head.  She was preening.  She let me get several good vertical head shots, but I think I liked her preening shot the best.  It must be hard to scratch under your own neck!

Cottonball-less Mate
Cottonball-less Mate

Both Mrs. Cottonball Heads were hanging around with cottonball-less mates.  After I took lots of pictures of the cottonballs, their friends seemed a little jealous that they weren’t getting any attention.  So I had to take pictures of them too.  They reminded me that I always promise to bring them bread on my next trip.  I never do it, though!  (I don’t want to be the one to break the news to them: bread isn’t really good for ducks!)

Easter Baby
Easter Baby

As I finished my second loop around the lake, I came across a pair of “Easter babies.”  These baby ducklings are often left at the lake after Easter.  It’s sad to see them abandoned and learning to fend for themselves.  I would have hoped that one of the stooges would take a baby under her wing, but that doesn’t seem to happen.  But at least one of the babies has found an adopted father, a Mallard mix.  You should read my friend Kim’s blog and her poignant words about these beautiful creatures.

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!