Wood Stork (The Villages, FL)
Happy New Year! Wildlife watching has been a pleasure the past eight years! I am celebrating an amazing eight years of writing and sharing my photography on this blog. Thank you to my loyal and new readers. The purpose of this blog has always been to share the magnificent wildlife around us via the pictures and descriptions I give here.
I so appreciate everyone who participates via the comments section and occasionally gives me photography pointers or help identifying a particular bird. You have been with me from Crossville, TN (and Fairfield Glade) to Ocala, Florida and now to The Villages, Florida.
A happy eight years of birding and enjoying the views of nature and occasionally other kinds of animals! So again, Happy New Year and happy wildlife watching, wherever you may be! As ever, please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. These are a few of my favorite pictures over the last eight years!
Green Heron (Fairfield Glade, TN on Lake St. George)
Grizzly Bear (Yellowstone National Park)
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (Tuscawilla Park in Ocala, FL)
Osprey (at the Dora Canal in FL)
Golden Marmot (Yellowstone National Park)
White Pelicans (Tuscawilla Park in Ocala, FL)
Canada Geese (at the little farm in Crossville, TN)
Roseate Spoonbill Birds (Sanibel Island, FL)
White-tailed Deer (at the little farm in Crossville, TN)
These lovely and friendly wild (sort of, anyway) burros or donkeys and the tiny Prairie Dogs were spotted last month at the beautiful Custer State Park in South Dakota near Mount Rushmore. These are the last of my series of photographs from my visit to the park this Summer.
I spotted the animals along the side of the road and in a great big pasture on the Wildlife Loop road. The burro’s come to the roadway to beg (successfully) for carrots or apples from the park’s visitors. They seem very tame but one must remember they are still wild animals! So neat to also see many Prairie Dogs chirping their warning when we walked a short way into the fields. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of each picture. Enjoy!
I saw Pronghorn at the lovely Custer State Park near Mount Rushmore in South Dakota in late June, 2017. The big deer-like animals are sometimes referred to as American Antelope or Antelope.
This herd of Pronghorn freely roam the huge pasture-lands of this state park but are mostly away from the bison. They sometimes run near fences which is shown on one of these photographs. The big grasslands are fenced because the bison are occasionally kept in that area in rotation.
Pronghorn eat grasses. There are plenty of grasses for them now. These are grazing animals. In my experience, the Pronghorn are pretty wary of people and are most often away from roads. I was glad to have my zoom lens! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photograph. Enjoy!
I have just returned from a family vacation to South Dakota. A highlight of the adventure was a visit to the ever-so-lovely Custer State Park in the Mount Rushmore area of the state.
This state park is chock-full of large wild animals. Yes, the enormous pastures where the buffalo (American Bison) roam are fenced but the animals really do run freely in the grasslands. A road for tourists to drive through the area is the best way to see the bison, pronghorn, deer, prairie dogs, and the friendly wild donkeys that call the park home.
I have been to this park three times now and enjoy it quite a lot! I want to wish everyone a happy Independence Day tomorrow (July 4th). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of each picture. Enjoy!
Little Blue Heron
I visited the very lovely Ocklockonee River State Park a few weeks ago and spent a wonderful night camping there. I was thrilled to see three White Tailed Deer, an Osprey, a Little Blue Heron, a Red-headed Woodpecker, several Boat-tailed Grackles, a pair of Mourning Doves, a couple of Brown Thrashers, and a gorgeous little White Squirrel (sorry no photo).
I took these pictures several times in the morning and it was very cloudy and misty out in my early shots that morning. I am including a couple of shots of just scenery so you can get a sense of the view at this beautiful Florida State Park. The river is a short walk from the campground area.
This state park is quite close to the St. Mark’s National Wildlife Sanctuary and is probably about twenty-five miles to the Gulf of Mexico. I enjoyed the park and would return someday for a longer stay. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
White-tailed Deer at a vernal pool
Larry The Alligator is a huge old American Alligator that apparently has lived in this pond for most if not all of its life. Larry The Alligator lives in The Villages, Florida in his pond near the Paddock Square in the Brownsville area of The Villages. The pond is a few blocks from the commercial area and is about a block from parking lots. The pond area is fairly large and has a fence with the sign seen below. I took the pictures a few days ago.
As you also can see from one of the photographs, the alligator caused a traffic jam of golf carts! A major event was winding down on the square which is one of the reasons why there also were a lot of folks on the cart path there. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Mature White Pelican
White Pelicans, an American Alligator, Egyptian Geese, Sea Gulls, and a lot of Double Crested Cormorants all were spotted here in The Villages, Florida on the lovely little lake behind Freedom Pointe off of El Camino yesterday at Noon. Don’t worry, that ‘Gator seemed to be a smaller one! The alligators often can be seen here in the lakes and larger ponds. The pelicans and cormorants are migratory visitors to the area but the geese, egret and ibises are year-around residents. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
White Pelicans and Double Crested Cormorants
Cormorants and Pelicans
Belted Kingfisher on the Suwanee River
Double Crested Cormorants on the Suwanee River
This lovely Florida State Park has a 72 degree F fresh water spring, is on the banks of the Suwanee River, has a wonderful campground, and walking trails with a children’s playground area. I saw many deer, nine, I think. I also saw four armadillos. There were a few wading birds, and songbirds, but there were perhaps a hundred Turkey Vultures (with a few Black Vultures in the bunch).
Almost every large tree on the Suwanee River at the mouth of the Manatee Springs stream, had many vultures perched on it! It is an amazing sight to see a seventy foot tall Cypress tree festooned with buzzards (another name for vultures).
This park is not a zoo and all the animals are wild. I was surprised to see the animals so boldly walking around were people were.
I recommend visiting Manatee Springs State Park. A lovely place with a lot to see in a small park. It is about six miles from the small town of Chiefland where there are several stores and restaurants. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
Probably an Eastern Phoebe
Pied-billed Grebe on the Suwanee River
Juvenile Little Blue Heron at the Manatee Spring
White-tailed Deer; Nine-banded Armadillos; a Juvenile Little Blue Heron; a Great Egret; a Double-crested Cormorant, a chatty Red-bellied Woodpecker, and an enormous migratory flock of Turkey Vultures were spotted at the lovely Manatee Springs State Park near Chiefland, Florida on November 8, 2016. Sorry to say, I did not see a single Manatee. I think it is probably too early in the season for Manatee sightings here.
This beautiful little Florida State Park is on the shoreline of the Manatee Spring and also the Suwanee River. There is a very nice campground and the park also has a canoe and Kayak rental program also with a nice launch area and small concession stand restaurant. People may swim in the 72 degree spring but there is no lifeguard service. I chose not to swim as it was too cool for that. I will conclude my series about this park on Monday with my next post. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Cypress Tree “Knees”
The Suwanee River
These really are called Cattle Egrets. I thought I would show these smaller of the egrets with both gorgeous horses and the more familiar cattle. I snapped these pictures from the fences of both a horse farm and a cattle ranch. Both the horse farm and that cattle ranch are in an area Northwest of Ocala, in Marion County, Florida.
I was amused at seeing Cattle Egrets paying attention to the horses. The egrets flew along as the horses ran around their very large pasture. These egrets eat grains and insects so following along with these large animals makes it possible for them to find an easy meal. As far as I could see, the larger animals did not seem to mind. No, the egrets are not parasitical, but they do take advantage of what is a natural situation. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!