Lake Morton

Lake Morton, located in downtown Lakeland, Florida, is home to about 60 Mute Swans and a myriad of other ducks and geese. Walkers and joggers frequently feed the birds, making them very tame for photography. Even the Wood Ducks are pretty tame. My favorite time to visit is the spring (March through June), when the birds are nesting and raising their young.

Photography Advice

I use both my long lens and my intermediate telephoto.

Lake Morton Blog Archives

  • Common Gallinule Nest at Lake Morton

    Common Gallinule Nest at Lake Morton

    Photos of a Common Gallinule family tending their nest and three young chicks. Mom and Dad brought in food while a juvenile sibling baby-sat
  • June Morning at Lake Morton

    June Morning at Lake Morton

    A June morning of photography at Lake Morton yielded juvenile cygnets, Wood Ducks, Wood Storks, and a Common Gallinule nest
  • Early April at Lake Morton

    Early April at Lake Morton

    A quiet morning of bird photography at Lake Morton - Ruddy Ducks, Muscovy ducklings, American White Pelicans, and wise Wood Storks
  • Springtime at Lakes Morton and Mirror

    Springtime at Lakes Morton and Mirror

    Springtime is the best time at Lakes Morton and Mirror, where it's easy to photograph tame birds in breeding plumage, and cute babies!
  • In Search of Swooning Swans at Lake Morton

    In Search of Swooning Swans at Lake Morton

    The swans didn't do much swooning for me at Lake Morton, but the new pair of Coscoroba Swans posed for my dad and me.
  • Ducks are Back at Lake Morton

    Ducks are Back at Lake Morton

    Ducks are back at Lake Morton! They gave me some good wing-flaps last weekend when the sun finally came out.
  • Small Things to Make You Smile (Lake Morton)

    Small Things to Make You Smile (Lake Morton)

    A summer morning at Lake Morton led me to tiny turtles, young swans, and a protective Father Goose with teenage Muscovy Ducks.
  • Around Lake Morton

    Around Lake Morton

    A spring morning is a great time to walk around Lake Morton. While I didn't see babies, the lingering winter migrants kept me entertained.
  • Say Hello to Mrs. Cottonball Head

    Say Hello to Mrs. Cottonball Head

    Sometimes it's fun to photograph rare or strange birds. Other times the most common birds make me smile, like Mrs. Cottonball Head!
  • Springtime Walk at Lake Morton

    Springtime Walk at Lake Morton

    Last weekend I visited Lake Morton in hopes of photographing swan courtship.  My friend Kim recently posted an amazing image of two “love birds” whose necks came together to form a heart on the lake.  It’s a touching reminder that it’s my favorite time of the year: baby bird season!  I can’t wait for the cygnets to grace the shores of the lake with their sweetness and their antics.  Alas, the swans did not cooperate for me on my visit.  But I did see so many other fun things to photograph that I can’t be disappointed.  Nature shares with me what it wants to share, and if I could always anticipate what I’ll see, there would hardly be any fun in it! So my morning started off with sunrise and American White Pelicans.  Small groups of pelicans were clustered on the brick walls lining the lake.  I quickly realized that they would fly off soon after sunrise, and that I had a few fleeting minutes to photograph them while the sun cast gorgeous orange light on the lake behind them.  So I did what you’re not supposed to do: I shot into the sunrise and added lots of exposure compensation …
  • Cloudy Morning Walk at Lake Morton

    Cloudy Morning Walk at Lake Morton

    Three days after Christmas, the weather forecasters promised us some sun.  It was a welcome forecast, as it had been cloudy for days.  So I got up early and headed to Lake Morton for sunrise.  I hadn’t been there to visit my swans in quite a while.  But it was another dull gray day.  You couldn’t tell when the sun rose because the clouds were so thick.  Yuck! When I first stepped out of my car, all sorts of ducks came running over to me, convinced that I had brought some bread to share.  I always apologize to them and tell them I’ll bring some next time.  Then I don’t.  It’s a good thing they don’t hold it against me. My juvenile swans were easy to spot as they waddled through the grass.  They are looking more like adult swans, but still have the dark markings of juveniles.  They were still making little noises to each other, too, much like they made on the day they hatched.  It’s so sweet to go back and visit them. Lake Morton is a great place to go photograph Wood Ducks.  Usually Wood Ducks are a very secretive species, but the ones at Lake …
  • Wow!  Honorable Mention in NWF Photo Contest!

    Wow! Honorable Mention in NWF Photo Contest!

    Oh my gosh!  Yesterday I received this e-mail: Your photo of a Mute Swan Cygnet has won an Honorable Mention in our 2013 National Wildlife Photo Contest.  It will appear in a slide show on the National Wildlife Federation’s website in the magazine’s PhotoZone pages in January. It will also be considered for our Photo of the Week and Caption Contest during 2014. Congratulations on being a finalist in our competition! My Honorable Mention shot was my favorite swan cygnet image from Lake Morton this spring.  I remember that magical day of sitting around the nest with Kim and Rob and Linda and Barb.  The babies cuddled up with Mom and were so adorably cooperative.  With my 500mm lens I was able to focus very closely on their tiny little heads, which were framed beautifully with Mom’s soft feathers.  I had a sequence of images that were just amazing, and this was my best.  I’m honored to have received national recognition for it! When Rich saw the title Featherbed, he laughed and said, “why didn’t you call it Down Comforter”?  Well, I guess that title works too! :) It won’t be long before the swans have tiny cygnets around the lake again.  I …
  • Show-Offs at Lake Morton

    Show-Offs at Lake Morton

    This summer at Lake Morton, I amused myself while on swan nest-watch by taking pictures of all the ducks and geese as they bathed in the lake.  Early mornings seem to be best for bathtime.  The birds are such fun to watch as they splash around, flapping their wings back and forth.  Besides, it’s fun to try to capture bath-time moments.  You never know how your shots will turn out when you’re with the show-offs at Lake Morton… This goose started the flapping party during the beautiful golden light that showed off all his pretty white feathers.  You can anticipate the wing-flaps by watching for bathing birds.  The baths almost always end with a good flap or two as the bird dries himself off.  I was surprised at how big this goose seemed to grow as he flapped to his full height and expanse! Then there was this Mute Swan.  He was swimming right in front of me, and I only had the Beast with me that morning!  He started slashing around, and I aimed at his face, hoping for a funny crop.  I got one, all right – he looks to me like he’s trying to conduct a symphony! …
  • More from Lake Morton

    More from Lake Morton

    There were lots of fun birds to photograph on my last visit to Lake Morton.  Besides the juvenile swans, there was a family of baby Limpkins, as well as the regular “menagerie” of ducks and geese.  Early mornings are always good for bath shots!  So here’s some more from Lake Morton… A pair of Black-necked Swans was added to the lake last year.  They are very pretty, and I really enjoy photographing them.  This one was splashing around and peeping to his partner.  I love the open beak in the image above! All sorts of juvenile ducks are growing up around the lake shores.  Those ducks interbreed so much that some of the juvies have some very interesting colors.  This one was pretty with his white feathers that contrast with his bright green patches. Lake Morton is a good place to go to photograph Wood Ducks.  These birds are usually secretive and hard to approach, but at Lake Morton, they are used to people.  I saw plenty of juvenile male Wood Ducks during my visit.  Their molting feathers aren’t quite as impressive as their parents’ feathers!  This adult posed near me, and the calm waters made for a perfect reflection …
  • Mute Swan Cygnets Returned to Lake Morton

    Mute Swan Cygnets Returned to Lake Morton

    Seven of our Mute Swan Cygnets returned to Lake Morton last week.  Regular readers of my blog may recall my springtime posts about the cute little cygnets, so adorable as they sat in their nests with Mom on the day that they hatched.   I finally got to see a cygnet ride on Mom’s back this spring, and it was such fun to watch! Sadly, these creatures were snatched away from their nests and parents, sometimes on the very day that they hatched.  The City of Lakeland removed the birds to protect the babies from the egg thieves that devastated last year’s chick population.  This year the City built a “top secret care facility” to give the cygnets a better shot at life. The City returned the first seven swans to Lake Morton in mid-September.  It’s amazing how quickly the birds grew in just four months!  The babies could have fit in the palm of my hand, and the juveniles are almost the size of their parents already! It was thrilling to walk up to these birdies and realize that they were some of the same sweet babies that I photographed in the springtime.  They still make the little “peep-peep-peep” sound that …
  • Mute Swan Cygnets – Just Another Ordinary Miracle!

    Mute Swan Cygnets – Just Another Ordinary Miracle!

    On Sunday I visited Lake Morton to photograph what is probably the last Mute Swan cygnet of the season. We’ve had a great spring this year, with lots of great nests and adorable cygnets. Unfortunately the babies are taken away by the City of Lakeland almost as soon as they hatch. So we haven’t had many opportunities to see the babies bonding with Mom and Dad out on the lake.  One thing I really wanted to see was the babies riding on Mom’s back as she swims.  My friend Kim got this amazing shot, which inspired me to try for my own.  I got there five minutes after the baby posed on Mom’s back!  Go figure!  After waiting for the cygnet to nap on the nest for about an hour, I finally got my own shots… As I observed these precious creatures in their natural habitat, I just couldn’t get a song from Kim’s blog out of my head… It’s not that unusual When everything is beautiful It’s just another ordinary miracle today* I was so excited to see the baby nestled on Mom’s back. He worked hard to scramble up there, and once up, it was hard to stay on! He kinda slid …
  • Another Tale of Father Goose

    Another Tale of Father Goose

    Regular readers of my blog may remember Father Goose.  He (she?) is a goose at Lake Morton who befriends the Muscovy Ducks each spring when their babies hatch.  I’m not sure where the Muscovy dads are, but they don’t seem to be much involved in raising the brood of youngsters.  Enter “Father” Goose, the lonely goose who arrived at Lake Morton several years ago and never quite fit in with the rest of the geese. So he hangs out with Mama Muscovy and the babies, taking a sweet interest in protecting them from all harm.  Any time a heron or egret approaches, the goose chases him away.  I’m sure Mama Muscovy appreciates the help – she has lots of babies! This year I went to Lake Morton right before the Mayfaire by the Lake art festival, and I found Father Goose hanging out with a family of eleven Muscovy babies.  They couldn’t have been more than a day or two old – they were tiny!  I managed to get ten of them posed with Mama. The Muscovy babies are constantly on the run, and they move pretty fast for tiny babies who are hardly taller than the grass!  They are challenging …
  • Sunset with my Swans

    Sunset with my Swans

    After our less-than-spectacular sunrise at Blue Cypress Lake a few weeks ago, I headed to Lakeland to see my swans.  You see, the City of Lakeland takes the cygnets away from their nests almost immediately — sometimes on the same day that they hatch.  The City believes that it’s better to raise the babies in a private facility, away from the hustle and bustle of the lake.  I find it hard to believe that it’s good to separate babies from Mom.  It’s been so sad to spend precious moments with the birds on their hatch days, knowing that they were going to be torn away from their parents in a matter of hours. Thanks to friends on the lake, I found out that the City left a few of the babies free for a few days.  So I hightailed it to the lake to photograph them free and happy.  I spent a wonderful evening with Mom and her three-day-old.  Carla, there are the babies from “your” nest from the day we visited the lake together! When I arrived, Mom and Dad and the babies were in the lake near their nest.  It was so much fun to watch them swimming …
  • Cygnets for Mother’s Day

    Cygnets for Mother’s Day

    Dedicated to my mom, who is my best friend and confidante.  Happy Mother’s Day!! As regular readers of my blog know, I’ve been stopping by Lake Morton periodically to monitor the nesting of the resident Mute Swans.  My friend Kim at the lake knows how much I love to photograph the cygnets (baby swans), so she promised to let me know when they started to hatch.  One morning I decided to sleep in (very unusual for a nature photographer in the spring!)  When I rolled out of bed at 8am, I had this email waiting for me… Baby!!   Where you park!  Sunday morn 6:30! Rich said I had a very determined look on my face.  By 8:15, I was pulling out of the driveway! :)  I had no idea that I was in store for one of the most exciting days of photography in my life… When I got to Lake Morton, Kim and her friends Linda and Rob were at a nest tucked into a group of tall grasses.  A newborn cygnet would occasionally peek out at us.  Mom continued to incubate her remaining eggs.  The grassy nest was cool and the cygnet was adorable, but it wasn’t …
  • Cygnet Watch at Lake Morton

    Cygnet Watch at Lake Morton

    On my way back from Fort De Soto last Saturday, I stopped at Lake Morton to see if there were any cygnets (baby swans).  I’ve been keeping an eye on the nests there for the past few weeks, as it is getting to be that time of year when tiny gray fuzzballs appear under the mother swans.  It was mid-day when I got there, and the light was really harsh, but the Beast and I took a walk around the light and still found plenty to photograph.  There weren’t any baby swans yet, but I did see some other cute babies… The two little yellow ducklings are still at Lake Morton and they are doing well.  They’ve gotten so much bigger than when I saw them last, and that was just two weeks ago.  It’s so sweet to watch them stick together.  Pretty soon we won’t be able to distinguish them from all the other “stooges” (my name for the white ducks that come begging for food!) The Black-Necked Swans were out on the lake together.  I loved how they swan together, and their necks would cross in a heart shape sometimes.  I was hand-holding the Beast and not quite …
  • Seven Baby Limpkins at Lake Morton!

    Seven Baby Limpkins at Lake Morton!

    I had read about baby Limpkins at Lake Morton, and when I was walking around the lake on Saturday morning, I kept my eyes and ears open.  Often I hear babies before I see them.  Then I ran into my friend Jane, and she told me exactly where to find them.  Woo hoo!  They were clustered in a clump of bushes, taking refuge from the chaos of a bread-fest that a little girl was sharing with the ducks.  I counted one, two, three, maybe four baby Limpkins in the bushes.  I got some really bad shots with lots of grass in the way, then settled down to wait, hoping that the little ones would venture out once the chaos subsided.  As often happens, I was rewarded for my patience…and then my jaw dropped as I counted SEVEN babies come out in the open! I thought it was great how the Mallards and White Ibises would wander back and forth in the tall grasses.  The Limpkins didn’t seem to mind the “outsiders” coming close to the babies.  At one point, the babies seemed to be playing with each other.  I caught these two doing a hop-skip-jump as they ran toward the …
  • Cute Babies at Lake Morton

    Cute Babies at Lake Morton

    The weather was cloudy and rainy on Saturday morning, so I didn’t want to venture miles from my car with heavy camera equipment.  I opted for a trip to Lake Morton, where I knew I could find cute babies.  I knew I’d be too early for swan cygnets, which probably won’t hatch till late April or early May.  But with all the ducks at the Lake Morton menagerie, there were bound to be at least a few chicks…and there were! Baby Ducklings My friend Kim posted some really fun shots of baby ducklings on Lake Morton.  She thinks that these cuties were an Easter gift that got dropped off at the lake.  Poor birdies – they don’t deserve to be bought because they are cute, then abandoned because they don’t make good pets.  But at least they ended up at a place where they might survive.  They can join other ducks on the lake, and there’s never a lack of bread and other goodies from lake-walkers!  They were nestled in the grass when I walked up, so I didn’t even notice them at first.  I think I surprised them, and they took to the water.  I quickly backed off, then …
  • Swans Nesting at Lake Morton

    Swans Nesting at Lake Morton

    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 …
  • Perfect Moment

    Perfect Moment

    I was going back through my images from the year to prepare my annual Christmas calendars. I came across this one and thought of my friend Kim from the lake, who will soon become a grandmother. This was such a special day, when I met Kim and got to photograph this day-old cygnet on the nest with Mom. :) I can’t wait for next spring!
  • Ring-Necked Duck in July!?

    Ring-Necked Duck in July!?

    The last couple of times that I’ve been to Lake Morton, I’ve noticed this lone Ring-Necked Duck out in the water. With all the ducks, swans, and geese at the “menagerie,” you might not think that was so strange…except for the fact that all his friends flew north several months ago! I wonder what made him decide to stay in Lakeland for the summer. Maybe he really likes 100-degree weather with a strong dash of humidity. Maybe he didn’t feel like flying so far. Maybe he wanted to see Father Goose in action. Whatever the reason, he stayed…and now it won’t be long before his duck friends return. :)
  • Save the Best for Last

    Save the Best for Last

    As I prepared to leave Lake Morton on Sunday, I stopped to photograph a Limpkin standing tall by the lakeside. I approached cautiously, tucking myself behind a tree so as not to surprise him. When I emerged on my knees to photograph him at eye-level, I was the one who got the surprise. He had five little Limpkin chicks with him! They were a little older than the chicks that rode the Circle B Water Slide last year, but still young enough to be fuzzy. They stood around poking their noses in the grass together. At one point they did an adorable nose-to-nose moment. Then something spooked them, and they ducked quickly under nearby grasses. My best shot was of this chick, who I caught open-mouthed as he tried to catch a bug. Look at him stick his tongue out!
  • Late Bloomer

    Late Bloomer

    I was a little surprised to find a tiny Mallard chick at Lake Morton on Sunday. He toppled into the water to follow Mom when I accidentally spooked her. He had a whole family of Mallards who seemed to be watching out for him. It’s unusual to see just one of this size – the clutches are usually pretty large, which is good given the low survival rate of the chicks. I guess late-season clutches are smaller. I also saw lots of juvie Wood Ducks at the lake. In the wild, Wood Ducks are extremely skittish, but the ones at Lake Morton are used to people. Even so, they are the first to hit the water when a person approaches. So I made sure to get low and photograph from afar when I saw a group of these pretty birds.
  • The Three Stooges

    The Three Stooges

    When I got out of the car at Lake Morton on Sunday, these “Three Stooges” nearly knocked me over as they begged for food. They are so used to people feeding them that they expect everybody to be a food dispenser! No matter where you go around the lake, you find these guys, often in groups of three. They are so funny to watch as they chase the other ducks! Maybe next time I go I will take along some bread.
  • Father Goose’s Teenagers

    Father Goose’s Teenagers

    Regular readers of my blog may remember Father Goose from about a month ago. He’s the goose at Lake Morton that befriends Muscovy ducklings and helps protect them as they grow up. A month ago, this is how he looked with his adopted family… Well, these days he’s looking after teenagers. While I was there on Sunday, I didn’t see Mama Duck anywhere, but Father Goose was still sticking close to his babies. They’ve grown so much! They’ve gone from little fuzzballs to almost-full-size Muscovies. Father Goose must be so proud! It’s very hard to raise young ducklings — they are such easy prey to a variety of predators. If only every family of ducks had a Father Goose!
  • Gray Icky Morning at Lake Morton

    Gray Icky Morning at Lake Morton

    I stopped by Lake Morton this morning on my way to help my dad in his computer lab. It was very gray and nasty outside as Tropical Storm Isaac approached. But I haven’t had much opportunity to photograph lately, so even gray days are fun. Plus I always enjoy my time with the birds at Lake Morton. You can’t go to Lake Morton without seeing swans. I read recently that two Black-Necked Swans had been added to the “menagerie,” and I’ve never seen one of those before, so I was hoping to find one. I did! They were a little smaller than the Mute Swans, and not nearly as cooperative. One sat under the dark shadow of a tree while I was there, and the other wouldn’t stop eating. But at last he hopped into the water and went for a swim — away from the camera. When he turned back at me, though, I was ready! I have tons of pictures of the Mute Swans, but I can’t stop myself from taking more. These birds are so graceful. Even when they are taking a bath! Look at all the water that he’s tossing around!
  • Picture Perfect

    Picture Perfect

    A few weekends ago when I was photographing at Swan Lake (a.k.a. Lake Morton), I looked up from the cute babies to see this Mallard sitting posed in great light with a perfect reflection. I loved the contrast of his feathers against the blue lake background. I kinda wished the cute babies would have stood as still as he did, too! :)
  • Swan Lake

    Swan Lake

    My hubby isn’t the most, um, obsessed about birding. So I had to laugh when he asked me, “are you going back to the Goosey Pond this weekend?” He was referring to Lake Morton and Father Goose…but I had to disagree on his name for the place. I much prefer “Swan Lake!” :)
  • Duck, Duck, Goose!

    Duck, Duck, Goose!

    All the birds at Lake Morton are playing “Duck, Duck, Goose!” as they watch Father Goose take care of his little ones. Mrs. Muscovy posed with her bright white face against a nice green background. She tried to be dignified, but it’s hard when you have a feather on your beak. This is one of Mrs. Muscovy’s little ones. At first I thought I liked the little yellow and black chicks better, but as I photographed this guy, he grew on me. In this picture I love how his brown colors blend in with the water around him. And of course we have Papa Goose! Here he is in defense mode, calling out at the top of his lungs to ward off the people who were walking nearby. Nobody gets within a few feet of “his” chicks without Father Goose putting up a good fight!
  • Father Goose

    Father Goose

    Many human children grow up hearing the tales of Mother Goose. On Lake Morton, the young chicks grow up with Father Goose. This unique goose takes it upon himself to play nanny with young Muscovy duck families. I spent a sweet couple of hours with this little family on Saturday morning at Lake Morton. A friend who lives on the lake hypothesizes that this goose lost his mate several years ago. Since then, the goose has taken Muscovy ducks under his wing. It’s so sweet to watch the three chicks following Mom around the lake, with Father Goose swimming alongside them. When they finished their swimming lesson, Father Goose stood watch over the little chicks as they slept. He honked his head off anytime that another bird came near. Mallards, ibises, and limpkins were chased off by the little ducklings’ protector. The little chicks are so cute! There are two yellow and black chicks and one brown chick. They are a couple of weeks old, but they haven’t lost the cute factor. I will post more pictures in the next couple of days. :)
  • Baby Ducks at Lake Morton

    Baby Ducks at Lake Morton

    While checking on the swan nests at Lake Morton recently, I’ve gotten to see some other fun babies too.  In early April, I came across a flock of recently-hatched Mallard chicks, probably between 12 and 18 of them.  In later visits, the babies were bigger, although in fewer numbers.  They are certainly well-fed at that lake, so they do grow quickly! But my best surprise was finding this pair of Wood Duck babies.  They are a little smaller and daintier than the Mallard babies.  Mama is very careful with them, and she moves them off into the grasses as soon as you approach.  I stood watching and she eventually let me get a better look at the babies.
  • The Story of a Swan

    The Story of a Swan

    As I teased on last Friday, I stopped by Lake Morton on my way home from Fort De Soto and found a newborn cygnet.  I went back on Sunday morning to observe the nest and spend some time with the baby.  This little guy has a band of followers (hi Kim! hi Pam!) who spent the weekend watching over the nest.  One of the men dubbed him “Baby Friday,” and somehow the name seems to have stuck… When I first arrived, neither Mom nor baby were on the nest.  Papa was sitting hear the nest, which still contained three unhatched eggs.  We couldn’t find Mom or Baby out on the lake, and we were starting to wonder what had happened to both of them.  The lake is full of predators: the eagle, the herons and wood storks, raccoons, the alligator.   But after a few sad moments, we spotted Baby Friday swimming proudly up behind Mama! Mom and Baby came up onto the shore line to preen.  The purple flowers lining the lake right now made for a pretty backdrop for these beautiful white creatures.  I couldn’t believe how tame they were. Neither could Dina, who arrived to join the paparazzi …
  • Black and White Wonderings

    Black and White Wonderings

    As frequent readers of my blog know, we adopted a black and white kitten last year.  He’s been helping me review my recent images from Lake Morton, and he’s a little confused.  You see, here’s the picture I  took of a Black Swan cygnet in early April: …and here’s the picture I took of a Mute Swan cygnet last week: Now Whiskey wonders: why do both black and white swans have little gray babies?
  • Preview of Coming Attractions…

    Preview of Coming Attractions…

    I had the most incredible day today!  I went to Fort De Soto to check out the migrants, and I finally got my first Scarlet Tanager male, along with a ton of orioles, grosbeaks, buntings, and a few warblers.  Birders kept telling me that today was a “slow” day in comparison to last weekend’s fallout…but to me, it was awesome!  I stopped at Lake Morton to check on the swan babies, and look what I found… More coming in upcoming posts…just as soon as I finish blogging about last weekend’s photography!  I love the springtime and baby birdies!
  • A Walk Around Lake Morton

    A Walk Around Lake Morton

    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 …
  • Happy Easter!

    Happy Easter!

    I hope this picture of a Mallard duckling doing the splits will bring a smile to everyone on Easter.  More from Lake Morton in the next post!
  • My First Visit to Lake Morton

    My First Visit to Lake Morton

    After a quiet morning at the Circle B Bar Reserve on Friday, Dyeyo and I decided to head to Lake Morton. Herman has been telling me about it for ages, and he always knows the good birding places! There were lots of Ring-necked and Ruddy Ducks sleeping on the lake. It was my first opportunity to see a male Ruddy. They are pretty. The Ruddys stayed out in the middle of the lake, but the Ring-neckeds came in close. Dyeyo and I both had opportunities to photograph them full-frame. It almost felt too easy, setting up on the side of the lake and photographing all the birds going by. We’ve heard that several hundred American White Pelicans were roosting at the lake. We got there around 10:00 in the morning, and we found three pelicans. They mostly hung out in the middle of the lake, standing on the little platform around the Christmas tree. They made a pretty funny sight, out there with the Double-Crested Cormorants. I want to go back in the early morning to see if more are roosting there in the evenings. They tend to fly off pretty early. There were so many swans! I thought the …