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Hen Hooded Merganser

Female Hooded Merganser

A few days ago we went to see what was happening at the two small ponds near the Walmart on  Highway 466 in The Villages, FL area.  Happily, there were several egrets, alligators, herons, coots, ducks, turtles and cormorants there!  It was several minutes of happy bird watching and photography.

It is not uncommon in Central Florida to see a lot of exotic birds and reptiles near civilization.  It is something we Floridians are used to.  At times, one may see a Great Egret hunting in the landscaped front area near a parking lot at a business, or even in the shrubbery at a roadway median!  I was pleased to see all of this action mere minutes from my home.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

Hooded Mergansers

Hooded Mergansers

Great Egret

Great Egret

Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron

 

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Double Crested Cormorant

Double Crested Cormorant

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Male Eastern Bluebird

Male Eastern Bluebird

We went to what we thought was a Burrowing Owl Preserve here in our area a few days ago.  We heard from a resident who lives next to the preserve, that due to the presence of Coyotes, the owls had left that large field preserve area a few years ago.  I did spot a trio of songbirds and surprisingly, a small Black Racer Snake, which is non-poisonous.

The Eastern Bluebirds cheerfully sat on the wooden fence surrounding the large field that had been the home of the owls (supposedly now it is home to Gopher Tortoises which we did not see).  After the Eastern Bluebirds left, a Northern Mockingbird took their place on the fence.  I also spotted an Eastern Blue Jay in the trees next to the fence but there were too many leaves in the way of my shot to get a good picture.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

Female Eastern Bluebird

Female Eastern Bluebird

The "Surprise"! A Black Racer Snake

The “Surprise”! A Black Racer Snake

A Northern Mockingbird

A Northern Mockingbird

Duck, Duck, Coot!

Hen Lesser Scaup Duck

Hen Lesser Scaup Duck

What?  You thought I was going to say “Goose!”?  I spotted the pretty Lesser Scaup ducks along with the Common Coot at a local small park lake.  These cute ducks are pretty used to being around visitors so I was able to get pretty close to a lot of them.

I took the pictures yesterday, Jan. 31, 2016,  late in the afternoon.  It was a cool, cloudy day here, but the good news is that it is warming up a bit.  I am glad.  Not that Florida’s weather is anything to really complain about!  Please click on the thumbnail images to see the larger version of that photo.  Enjoy!

Drake Lesser Scaup Duck

Drake Lesser Scaup Duck

Drake Lesser Scaup and Common Coot

Drake Lesser Scaup and Common Coot

A Pair of Lesser Scaup Ducks

A Pair of Lesser Scaup Ducks

 

http://harrisonbayeaglecam.org

I am going to try to get the link for the Tennessee Bald Eagle nest cam corder to work and show the actual page.  Here is what I hope will be a working link.  It is fascinating to watch the Bald Eagle parents working on the two eggs and I hope at least one will hatch.  I will be back to my regular blog post here tomorrow.

 

 

 

Yard Birds

Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler

A hen Northern Cardinal, a Palm Warbler, and a small flock of White Ibises were all visitors to my yards this past week.  I took the pictures of the cardinal and warbler from inside my home through the window.  The Ibises had taken advantage of the rainy weather to seek out grubs and worms in the lawn.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

Hen Northern Cardinal

Hen Northern Cardinal

Palm Warbler on the Live Oak

Palm Warbler on the Live Oak

White Ibises

White Ibises

Northern Shoveler Ducks

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Northern Shoveler Ducks were spotted a few weeks ago with the huge flock of White Pelicans, Seagulls, and Double Crested Cormorants at a local golf course water hazard pond.  The Northern Shovelers have that distinctive long broad shovel-like bill.  They are medium-sized ducks and are migratory here.

Drakes are often brighter in color than the hens, and most drakes have a darker head that is often greenish brown or greenish purple.  The ducks use their big bills to dabble in the mud for insects, worms, snails, and vegetation.  They are quite similar to the Mallards in their feeding habits. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

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White Ibises

 

Older Juvenile White Ibis

Older Juvenile White Ibis

I frequently see several flocks of White Ibises here in my area.  They are often seen in the parks and sometimes in neighborhoods, browsing for grubs worms and insects on lush lawns.  They also wade in shallow water foraging for aquatic snails, small fish, and aquatic vegetation.

The White Ibises here tend to fly to various places from pretty much the same roosting area.  They like to roost in small trees in a marsh were alligators keep predators away.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

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