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Memorial Day

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As today is Memorial Day, this brief post is dedicated to the memory of those who died in the service of the country or were seriously wounded.  The families and friends of those servicemen and women suffering casualties, are in my thoughts and prayers.

Great Blue Heron & Wood Stork

Great Blue Heron & Wood Stork

This Wood Stork was strolling around the shore of the Santiago golf course pond in The Villages, Florida, a few days ago with several other wading and shorebirds.  Amazingly, a Bald Eagle overlooked the scene.  I am thrilled to see the Wood Stork as it has been several months since I last spotted any Wood Storks here in The Villages.

The Wood Stork uses its large thick bill to scoop through the mud for bits of worms, snails, insects, aquatic plants and pretty much any small aquatic animals to eat.  I just love seeing these endangered species list big birds!  I think they are so serene and unique.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.  Enjoy!

Wood Stork

Wood Stork

Wood Stork & Glossy Ibis

Wood Stork & Glossy Ibis

Wood Stork

Wood Stork

 

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This Glossy Ibis in its breeding finery was spotted a few days ago at the Santiago Golf Course pond in The Villages, Florida.  I took the pictures at about 7:00PM.  This is the first Glossy Ibis I have seen that was so brilliantly colored.  A show-off stunner of a bird!

These wading birds enjoy aquatic worms, aquatic plants, some insects, tiny fish, tadpoles, and the occasional seeds and grains.  They like freshwater marshes but the manicured lawn shoreline of a golf course will do just fine, of course!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture.  Enjoy!

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This Southern Bald Eagle was spotted perching on the top of a high tension electric line tower at the Santiago Golf Course, and Recreation Center in The Villages, Florida.  This tower over-looks the large golf course pond which also attracts a lot of wild birds and ducks.  So in addition to fish, there seems to be plenty to eat for this eagle.

I think this eagle frequents the tower as I saw the same bird in the same place two evenings in a row.  I photographed the bird at about 7:00pm on May 18-19, 2016.  By the way, I have heavily cropped the photographs so you can more easily see the bird.   I so enjoy seeing the amazing amount of wildlife here in The Villages!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of that photo.  Enjoy!

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A family of Sandhill Cranes was spotted at the residential shoreline of Paradise Lake in what is known as the “Historic side” of The Villages, Florida, near Paradise Park.  This little family was browsing in the shallow water of the lake for some food.  The cranes eat a variety of aquatic and land plants, and seeds.  Sandhill Cranes also occasionally eat insects and small aquatic animals.

This is the first time I have seen any Sandhill Cranes in the area of Paradise Lake.  Mostly there are White Ibis, Canada Geese, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Mallard Ducks, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets and the occasional Egyptian Geese, migratory ducks, Tri-color Herons, White Pelicans and Wood Storks.  It was a pleasure to see the three Sandhill Cranes!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.

I spotted the cranes on May 13, 2016 from the tiny Swartz Park shore near the new picnic area, and again last evening at dusk at the beautiful little Boone Park at Kim and Silver Oaks.  As ever, I hope you’ll enjoy viewing the pictures.

Crossing Kim Street in The Villages, Florida

Crossing Kim Street in The Villages, Florida

Mother and Juvenile Sand Hill Crane

Mother and Juvenile Sand Hill Crane at Boone Park, The Villages, FL

Father and Juvenile Sandhill Cranes

Father and Juvenile Sandhill Cranes at Boone Park, The Villages, FL

 

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Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture of the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in flight.  Enjoy!

Bluebird, House Finches

Bluebird, House Finches

Songbirds such as Eastern Bluebirds, and House Finches enjoy the refreshing cool waters of the bird bath.  One of my neighbors has a bird bath next to the really nice bird feeding station that they have set up.  I know the little birds are enjoying the cool water and refreshments quite a lot.  It was 93 degrees F. here yesterday.

A small group of young Morning Doves like the tasty bird seeds that fall from the tray feeder (I also have spotted one of the doves up on the tray feeder itself).   I enjoyed watching the birds’ splash party!  It is such a nice thing for homeowners to include food and water for the songbirds in their front or backyard landscape!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture.

Finches at the feeder

Finches at the feeder

Morning Dove

Morning Dove

Eastern Bluebird

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Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

Bluebird and House Finch

Bluebird and House Finch

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