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Winged Winter Visitors Arriving

Published on Dec 18, 2020

It's that time of year again when our northern winter visitors begin arriving in droves. No, we aren't talking about our retired out-of-state friends who drive down each year to escape the frigid north.

These winter visitors have feathers, wings and brighten up Central Florida's nature offerings to make it prime bird watching season.

And Polk County has many viewing options to choose from if you want to see some feathery friends.

In just a few hours, we ventured out at both Lake Morton in Lakeland and Circle B Bar Reserve to see what winter visitors had already arrived and we weren't disappointed.

White pelicans greeted us at Lake Morton. They are fun to watch along the shoreline. However, most of them at the time seemed to be preoccupied with the Christmas tree platform the City of Lakeland uses for its display along the scenic lake. And while they weren't all northern visitors, the lake always has a host of colorful birds and ducks to watch and photograph.

A few minutes away at Circle B, a host of other migratory birds were in full view, including a northern harrier, belted kingfisher, blue-gray gnatcatcher and eastern phoebe.

As winter continues to set in, take a short trip and venture out to many of the county's parks or Environmental Lands sites to see some of these beautiful birds. For more information on where to go for Polk County's Environmental Lands, go to