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Ibises Galore!

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American White Ibises were happily lounging around the shore of one of the local small lakes when I stopped to take pictures.  The brown and white bird is a juvenile American White Ibis.  This crowd of Ibises were attracted to the sound of gas-powered golf carts.

Tourists and a few locals (some with youngsters) come in the golf carts and give the throngs of Ibises and other water birds, treats like crackers, bread, cereal and bird seed.  I do not participate in this.  The birds have come to expect that people in carts means that food will come their way.  They actually beg.  No wonder there are a lot of the birds around!  The natural foods for American White Ibises are aquatic and land snails, worms, insects, grubs, and they occasionally eat seeds.  Yes, there are Wood Storks in one of the pictures (first row at left).  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger photo.  Enjoy!

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Water Birds on Wednesday

Pekin Duck

Pekin Duck

A Wood Stork; American White Ibises; Pekin Ducks; Florida Mottled Ducks, an Eastern Blue Jay (what?  He is not a water bird!); Egyptian Geese, and a  Tri-color Heron were all spotted on Monday night at twilight at a small lake behind the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center parking lot (Spanish Springs Square area), The Villages, Lake County, Florida.

Yes, one of the cute white Pekin Ducks does appear to have some sort of small cyst or tumor on its head.  The ducks, geese, and Ibises all are quite adept at begging for tourist treats along the parking lot.  Unfortunately, the Wood Storks are picking up on the begging routine (in their own quiet way).  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture.  Enjoy!

American White Ibises, Wood Stork

American White Ibises, Wood Stork

American White Ibis

American White Ibis

Eastern Blue Jay

Eastern Blue Jay

 

Pekin Ducks, Hybrid Florida Mottled Ducks (AKA The beggars!)

Pekin Ducks, Hybrid Florida Mottled Ducks (AKA The beggars!)

Tri-color Heron

Tri-color Heron

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Geese

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This Little Blue Heron was intent on catching a meal at dusk last night.  I photographed this bluish-purple wading bird at Sunrise Point on Morse Blvd. in Lake County, Florida.  Sunrise point is located at a little park where there is a small raised deck overlooking the large freshwater marsh.

Little Blue Herons are small herons that eat aquatic prey such as water snails, worms, fish, turtles, and frogs.  While wading in the shallow water near the shore, these herons first stalk their prey, and then they stab that food with their sturdy long bill.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger version of that same photo.  Enjoy!

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Yes, I love the Wood Storks!  Wood Storks are unusual-looking, and very sweet-tempered big birds.  I took these pictures a few weeks ago a small lake in Lake County, Florida.  There are a lot of wading birds there during the early evening hours.  I generally have seen one or two Wood Storks along the shoreline near the parking lot.  The Wood Storks hang out with the throngs of American White Ibises.

The Wood Storks generally will eat aquatic insects, aquatic snails and worms, small tender turtles, frogs, tadpoles (pollywogs), and small fish.  The big gentle birds use that huge horn-like bill to scoop up food in the shallow water.  These birds roost in larger trees and tend to roost in colonies.  I believe the Wood Storks on this lake are there for the abundant food.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

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Whistling Ducks are charming, handsome, and downright cute ducks!  I took these pictures in Lake County, Florida a few weeks ago.  A small flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (That is their full unscientific name) are here all year around while other flocks come and go, migrating to our warm Winter climate seasonally. The Whistlers are usually found around our larger marshes and lakes and not around the smaller park ponds in this area of Lake County.  Too much hustle and bustle and competition from the numerous Mottled Ducks and Ibises.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger picture.

Here are the answers to Monday’s little quiz:  A.  Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.  B.  Hooded Mergansers.  C.  Mourning Dove.  D.  Northern Mockingbird or Mockingbird.  E.  Florida Mottled Ducks or Mottled Ducks.  F.  White Ibis or American White Ibis (a juvenile). G.  Wood Stork.  H.  Great Horned Owls (these are babies or Owlets).  I hope you enjoyed playing the game!

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A.

A.

C.

C.

B.

B.

Just for your enjoyment, here are a mix of easy and medium-hard to guess bird identification pictures.  I know my friends who are “Birders” will know these birds.  At one time or another, all of these nine birds have been featured on this blog in the last five years.  These pictures all were taken here in Florida, in Marion or Lake Counties.  Let me know your ideas in the comments.  Answers will be given in the next post.  Enjoy!

D.

D.

F.

F.

E.

E.

G.

G. (It’s a Reflection)

I.

I.

H.

H.

Great Blue Herons

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I have been seeing just a few Great Blue Herons around.  It seems like there are a lot of Tri-colored Herons as well as a huge crowd of White Ibises but the very handsome Great Blue Heron is in the minority on the local lakes and ponds right now.  They are usually spotted early in the morning while hunting on the shoreline in shallow water but sometimes they are simply hanging out, resting in the late afternoon or early evening.

I want you to know that although I have been posting a lot about the waterfowl and wading birds, I have not forgotten about the songbirds at all!  Our rainy weather, the nesting season, and the start of the seasonal molt, has made the yard birds much less easy to spot and photograph in recent days.   When I next get some good pictures of the smaller birds to share, I’ll be sure to post them here.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see a very slightly larger version of the photograph.  Enjoy!

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