Male Florida Panther
The Homosassa Springs, FL wildlife state park functions as a wonderful small zoo. The animals and birds here are orphans, rehabilitated from previous injury, or were born in captivity. These animals, for many reasons, would not be able to successfully live in the wild. Nearly all of these animals are Florida natives (The hippo came from the San Diego Zoo originally, and is over 50 years old).
There are bears, manatees, deer, eagles, flamingos, bobcats, foxes, Red Wolves, all sorts of other larger birds, two endangered Florida Panthers, Whooping Cranes, and alligators. I highly recommend this park. The adult entrance fee is $13.00 and less for the kids. The park is just about 90 miles away from Orlando and is near the Gulf of Mexico, North of Tampa. The park’s wildlife walking path is shady, paved and is about a mile long through the exhibits.
I will share more pictures in my next post. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.
Cara Cara bird
“Lulu” The Hippo
Black Bear and (visiting) Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Freshwater “Cooter” Turtle
Great Egret – Preening
These two White Pelicans are among a small number of their large flock that did not follow the flock back up North in late Spring this year. Unusual. I think the birds like the environment here in The Villages, Florida!
I spotted these two (most days there are four pelicans) at the Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course driving range pond (on the country club side this time). I photographed the birds from the opposite shore while I also captured pictures of those Egyptian Geese I featured here a few days ago. Yes, that is a Snowy Egret flying past one of the pelicans.
These pelicans eat fish and are usually in the company of Double-crested Cormorants. I only spotted a single cormorant that day at the pond. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
This beautiful Snowy Egret was spotted on the Chula Vista Executive Golf Course pond in The Villages, FL. The egret was wading in the small shallow pond to fish for its meal of small fish, frogs, crayfish or smaller turtles.
Snowy Egrets are small, all white birds with a black bill, black legs, and bright yellow feet. In breeding season which is late Winter and Spring, the birds have a glorious coat of long white plumage.
Most Snowy Egrets stay around the water until time to roost in a tall tree for the evening. They do not usually hunt in shrubbery like their larger cousins the Great Egrets do. Snowy Egrets are fairly shy and don’t like being around people very much. I usually see them by themselves or with one or two others but spread out on the shoreline. I always enjoy spotting these gorgeous birds! Like many wading birds, it is easiest to spot the egrets in the early morning or very late afternoon hours. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
These seven Egyptian Geese were spotted this afternoon at the lovely Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course driving range pond in The Villages, Florida, on the power-line side (multi-modal path area). This group is the largest gathering of Egyptian Geese I have seen here in three years. The ancestors of these geese are native to Africa that were brought to Florida a few years ago and turned loose.
I think that some of this group may be the goslings I photographed two years ago here at Freedom Pointe lake. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
This Great Egret was seen perched on the very top of a waterfront gazebo in Boone Park, The Villages, Florida, on Lake Paradise. Yesterday, I took these pictures from the little parking area so as not to disturb the bird. The weather has been very hot and rainy so I have not been bird watching much the last week. The water level of the lake is quite high and fewer big birds have been seen (heat, wind and high water). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
I barely caught a glimpse of the gorgeous Eastern Blue Jay as it flitted around in thick shrubbery and the lower branches of a gigantic Live Oak tree. On the other hand, the small group of Mottled Ducks was quite eager to waddle up to where my husband and I were standing on the low raised walkway pier leading to an over the water gazebo on a local park pond here in The Villages, FL.
No, I would not call most park ducks here “Bashful”! Ha! Excellent beggars but the poor ducks got no treats that afternoon from me. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!