I returned to Lake Morton in mid-April to check on the swan nests. Cygnet Watch concluded this year for me with no cygnets. But there were plenty of other things to see. Want to see more? Well, we can join the Wood Ducks for their race…ready, set, go!
This Mute Swan sat patiently on her nest. I think it was a relatively new nest, possibly one she took over after the previous occupants had vacated. She tucked her nose into her feathers, watching me but not wanting to wake up entirely. It was an early morning!
This white duck didn’t mind the early morning wake-up call. There were three of them swimming together, splashing in their baths and giving me fun wing-flaps. I think these birds are related to Mallards…at least, in some remote, Morton-menagerie sense!
I’ve been loving the opportunities with the Wood Ducks this spring. On this particular morning I didn’t see any Wood Ducklings. But I did see these three adult male ducks in a row! They were also splashing and giving themselves an early-morning bath.
I heard tiny noises and looked down in the lily pads to find this nest of Common Gallinule chicks. Mom was brooding them, then she stood up to give me a good view of their five little beaks. Give them a week or two and they’ll be running all over the lake shore.
The Lesser Scaup that I saw last time was still there. When birds don’t migrate on time, it’s usually for a reason. When this bird raised his wings for a bath, I saw the missing flight feathers. Hopefully he’ll grow them back and find his friends up north.
I came across another Common Gallinule family. Mom was searching for food in the grass. The babies would come racing up to her to grab a morsel. My best shots were when I laid down in the grass to get down at the birds’ level.
When I heard a repeated “nah, nah, nah!” call, for a moment I thought I was at Fort De Soto with the courting terns! It was a pair of Laughing Gulls. Based on their behavior, I think we’ll have more gulls at the lake in a few weeks!
I arrived at one of the last swan nests. When I saw Dad sleeping in the roped-off area next to Mom and the nest, I hoped to find cygnets. Based on their behavior, it would not surprise me that the hatching was imminent – but alas, it didn’t happen while I was there! Look at her white feathers in the soft morning light. She’s going to make a great mom.
The swans weren’t the only ones giving me good head shots on this particular morning. I came across another Wood Duck at the edge of the lake. I crawled closer and closer as he preened himself. His feathers glistened in the sunlight. What a great way to end a fun morning!