Cygnet Watch continues, and I return to Lake Morton in mid-April to check on the swan nests. It’s my favorite time of year to visit the lake. I’ll show you why…
All around the shores of the lake, Mute Swans are tending their nests. I check carefully, watching Mom’s feathers as she re-arranges on the nests, but don’t see any cygnets yet. It’s been a few years since I have photographed baby swans and I would love to see Mama Swan taking the cygnets for a swim on the lake!
Almost all the winter ducks and pelicans have gone. A few American Coots still gather on the lake shore, and a lone American White Pelican sits on the wall whether his flock gathered a few weeks ago. So I am surprised to see this Lesser Scaup among the Wood Ducks. I guess he hasn’t gotten the migration memo yet!
Speaking of Wood Ducks, they are everywhere! I hear their sweet whistling calls as they swim in the lake, walk the shore, beg joggers for food, and bathe in the lake water. Early morning is apparently a very good time for a bath, and I get lots of good wing flaps.
Then I look across the lake and see Mama Wood Duck escorting her family for a swim. She leads them fearlessly across the entire width of the lake. Dad joins her once she’s almost at her destination. Either he doesn’t like baby-sitting, or he trusts that Mom has all her ducks in a row!
I see three families of Wood Duck babies as I walk around the lake. They like to hang out in the lily pads. The babies climb up on the lily pads to bite at flies. They are such cute little babies.
Nearby is another duckling, this one a Mallard chick. He swims around calling peep! peep! peep! as he looks for his mom. The lake gets a lot quieter when she finds him and feeds him.
I find a Common Gallinule making his nest at the base of a cypress tree. It reminds me of another nest I photographed in an adjacent tree a few years back. The nest is constructed of branches, reeds, and swan feathers. It’s as eclectic as the population around the lake! I can’t wait to photograph the chicks.
Common Gallinule chicks are popping up everywhere. Look under the lily pads for the nests. Or listen for little wheezing noises. Once you find the babies, don’t be alarmed if they look like aliens. Mom loves them and takes care of them anyway.
A Green Heron flies past and lands on a wire hanging out into the lake. He sits quite still while eyeing the water underneath him. As soon as the fish moves below, he strikes.
I walk around the lake, then walk around most of it a second time, enjoying the warm sun that finally emerges from behind the clouds. Wood Ducks are much prettier when photographed in the sunlight. My favorite shots are the last ones of the day. I will leave you guessing until the next post!
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!
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