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Hey, You’re not a Duck!

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During one of my afternoon walks along Lake Tsala Apopka, I see what appears to be a small olive-brown duck in the shallow water of the lake some distance away. I am excited that I am seeing a bird I haven’t observed before. What can it be? I raise my camera with the telephoto lens to get a closer look, but even with this powerful lens I still cannot see it well. I walk closer to get a better view and hope I don’t scare it away before I identify it. Raising my camera again, it is not a duck, but a Mourning Dove.

What is a Mourning Dove doing in the water? Is it stuck in the mud? I am able to get within a 100 feet of the bird to discover that it is bathing in the shallow water of the lake, splashing furiously. I am still excited because this sight is new to me even after being in this business for over 40 years. I stood there enjoying the “performance” the dove put on for me. I wonder how many other shows I missed because I overlooked the everyday activities of common wildlife.

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