Mallard Ducks have returned to the area and I sure am glad. Some here in Florida dislike the Mallard Ducks because of their interbreeding with our Florida native ducks, the Florida Mottled Duck. The two are really closely related and so are comfortable becoming mates. Our Florida wildlife officials do not like having a lot of Mallards out in the wild.
Property owners in Florida are expected to keep their domesticated Mallards at home on their farms and ranches, and not allow them to fly free. I think this bunch is a migratory flock that came South for the Fall and Winter months. In any event, I like Mallard Ducks! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were out in force at Tuscawilla Park in downtown Ocala, Florida when I was there last week. I enjoy watching the cute “Whistlers”! There were older juveniles among the flock of adults. You can tell the youngsters by their grey-bluish bills and feet. The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks’ bills, and feet will turn bright pink as they become adults.
The group of ducks I saw last week appears to be a resident Florida flock. I expect many migratory ducks to arrive here in Central Florida in coming months. I think the largest waterbird gathering at Tuscawilla Park happens in late January and early February. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a very slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy! P.S. Sorry for the slightly late post today – I just forgot. I do not use auto post. Wildlifewatcher
Muscovy Ducks and a Pekin Duck were all spotted at Tuscawilla Park lake in Ocala, Florida on Sept. 24, 2015. The Muscovy Ducks and Pekin Ducks are both domestic farm breeds. These ducks probably flew away from farm or ranch ponds in the area or are descendants of previous generations of ducks that did. The Muscovy is a very unusual-looking duck and it has a distinct fleshy growth on its head, called a “Wattle”. I was happy to see Muscovy ducklings at the park as well as the adults.
The white duck is the Pekin Duck. There were only a few of the Pekin Ducks at the lake, and really only just a few wading birds there during this visit. This lake is jammed-packed with water fowl and wading birds in February! It is quite the sight. I previously photographed many birds at this same lake this last Winter. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a very slightly larger version of that same photo. Enjoy!
This is a Little Blue Heron and not an egret! I understand how a person could be confused. The Little Blue Herons have a white color phase as juveniles. Yes, the Little Blue Herons really will turn that purple blue color that most people are familiar with.
I spotted this Little Blue Heron on a small pier at a little park lake in The Villages, Florida near Spanish Springs Square on September 13, 2015. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a very slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
Wood Storks are really wonderful big wading birds! I especially enjoy observing the rather unusual-looking rare birds. A few Wood Storks have been around the ponds and small lakes of The Villages development here in Florida, recently. Wood Storks dine on aquatic life such as fish, frogs, snails, worms, insects, crayfish, eggs, and small reptiles. Once in a while, they will eat small birds, and even small rodents.
These birds are not park pets and are wild. The Wood Storks are just visiting the general area a while because of the plentiful natural food and numerous small lakes where many other types of wading birds are often present.
I took these pictures at varying times during the last couple of months at a small park lake close to the Spanish Springs Square near the parking lot of the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
A Little Blue Heron was spotted standing with a Snowy Egret in a small rather swampy pond along Sumter County Road 466 near The Villages, Florida. I also saw that same beautiful bird fly up to a nearby Cypress Tree. That same Cypress had a few egrets resting in it a few moments earlier. A really fantastic sight-seeing all of that wading bird action! I took the pictures on Sept. 13, 2015 early in the evening. An interesting thing about this little pond, is that it is located very near a shopping area.
Little Blue Herons eat fish, frogs, tadpoles, small tender turtles, large aquatic snails, aquatic worms, ducklings, eggs, small snakes and small rodents. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!