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Whistlers on Wednesday

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are found at several of the small lakes and ponds here in The Villages, FL.  These are wild ducks but have become used to living around people in the parks and backyards near the lakes.  The Whistlers communicate via whistling calls instead of quacking like many other ducks to.  The Whistlers are probably nesting now or will be soon.

This small group was relaxing on the shoreline of Lake Paradise as seen from across the lake from Schwartz Park.  I took these pictures on Monday evening at dusk.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

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Canada Goslings were just hatched near Schwartz Park on Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL.  It certainly seems to be that time of year when babies are all over the place here!  I think these fuzz balls were probably less than three days old.

While I was out taking pictures last evening at about 7:00pm I saw a Great Egret, a very determined and hungry Osprey, a bunch of Whistlers (the pics will be here on Wed. of course) and a few Mallard Ducks.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.  Enjoy!

Osprey

When I was taking photographs of the Purple Gallinule and the American Alligator the other day at the lovely little nature park in Leesburg, Florida, I saw a trio of Little Blue Herons.  One was an adult in the typical purple-blue coloring of breeding season, one of the Little Blue Herons was a transitional older juvenile in the process of turning blue, and the last was the juvenile in white phase, which was the youngest of all three of the birds.

I also spotted four Osprey, a Great Egret, a few Anhingas, and a few small songbirds like Red-winged Blackbirds, and Common Grackles while I was at Bourlay Nature Park.  This park has a short hiking trail along Lake Griffin and a small wooden pier for bird watching.  There also seems to be a kayak landing area and a nature talk sitting area.  There is a small parking lot and restrooms as well.  This park is just about a half mile or so East of Highway 441 on Canal Street.  I enjoyed about a half-hour there as it was at dusk and there were Alligators in the area.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

Osprey

Little Blue Herons

Anhingas

 

Great Egret

Osprey

Anhinga

This American Purple Gallinule was hunkered down among the reeds on the shoreline of Lake Griffin at the Bourlay Nature Park in Leesburg, Florida on April 19, 2018 at about 6:00pm.  I spotted the bird because it got spooked by the presence of an American Alligator circling around in the shallows of the lake near where the gallinule was hidden.

The Purple Gallinule that I photographed is a male and it sure is handsome with bright blue and purple feathers, a red-orange fleshy area over its beak, and bright yellow legs and feet.  The Purple Gallinule resembles the Common Moorhens and the Common Coots.  The Purple Gallinules often are spotted in shallow waters on the shoreline of lakes, striding around on top of lily pads and reed mats.  It has long thin toes which help it stay balanced on tippy floating leaves.  By the way, this is only the second Purple Gallinule I have ever spotted.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.  Enjoy!

A trio of Cooter Turtles, a pair of Florida Mottled Ducks, a Monarch Butterfly, a Fence Lizard, a Carolina Wren and a couple of Great Egrets (not shown here due to blurry rainy pictures) were all spotted on Sunday, April 15, 2018 in the afternoon at the lovely Fenney Springs Nature Trail and Spanish Moss Park in The Village of Fenney in The Villages, FL.

The Fenney area is among the most recently developed areas of The Villages, and it has an especially  beautiful regional park!  The springs are a natural area with added man-made ponds among the fields and Live Oaks.  The park has a lovely accessible boardwalk nature trail.  There also are a few well-placed picnic tables in the grassy area slightly away from the boardwalk and close to the rear pond.  There seemed to be a good amount of parking available for cars and carts, too.  We had to cut our quick visit short due to thunderstorms.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

 

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and a pair of Canada Geese

A lone Wood Stork, a small flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks with a pair of Canada Geese, and a small flock of Mallard and Florida Mottled Ducks were spotted Wednesday evening at twilight at Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL.  The Wood Stork was at the far shoreline browsing for its evening meal.  I really enjoy spotting Wood Storks!

The Mallard/Mottled ducks were preening and bathing in the warm lake waters while those gorgeous whistlers were lounging on the shore.  I think there must be a resident on this lake that feeds the ducks as I often spot the whistlers and mallards around one area at the end of the afternoon.  Who knows?  I hope if the resident does put food out, that the food is duck chow.  It was a fun time seeing these birds just after spotting the Bald Eagles in one of the other Villages here.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.  Enjoy!

Wood Stork

Mallard and Mottled Ducks including hybrids

Florida Mottled Duck or a Mottled/Mallard Hybrid

Bald Eagles are nesting now and some of the chicks are now older and are considered as juveniles.  Tonight at dusk, I photographed a family of Southern Bald Eagles on the nest and perched on a high tension electric line here in The Villages, FL.  This nest is on the tower that is behind the heron, egret, and ibis roost to the East of Morse Blvd. just South of Rio Grande.

I am sorry about the quality of the photographs as it was getting dark and the birds were a fair distance off.  I took some of the photographs from a different street which was on the opposite side of the tower.  I have cropped and lightened up the pictures so you can more easily see these majestic birds.  The juveniles are a brown color with a few smaller patches of white coming through where they will eventually have white colors (head, and tail mostly).  It was such a thrilling sight to see the mother or father bird with two juveniles (one in the nest and one on and off of the nest).  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

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