Lizard on the pick-up truck
Tri-colored Heron at Lake Paradise
Tri-colored Heron, Anhinga, Ducks, Ibis
I took these photographs of various wading birds, a Grey Squirrel, and a lounging lizard here in my community during the last couple of weeks. We have been having a lot of afternoon monsoonal storms so I have not been out getting new pictures in the last few days. I hope to be out and about taking new pictures in coming days. I hope you will enjoy these looks at life around the local park lakes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that photo.
Mallard Ducks at Lake Paradise
Grey Squirrel at Paradise Park
Snowy Egret at Swartz Park
A Great Blue Heron, a few Double Crested Cormorants, a s-l-o-w (is there any other kind?) turtle, a pair of Mallard Ducks, and a male Boat-tailed Grackle were all spotted at what I refer to as “The Walmart Pond”, at Buffalo Ridge near the Villages, Florida on CR 466, last night at about five thirty. I go to the pond every week or so to check out the wildlife. My husband and I happened to be in that area last night around dinnertime and decided to visit the pond for a few minutes.
By the way, I did not see any ‘gators! The Alligators may well be gone but possibly they were just submerged and out of sight. I enjoy going to this pond to see what wildlife is there. I am usually rewarded by a sighting of large birds! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
A Freshwater Turtle Slowly on the Move
Double Crested Cormorants & a Great Blue Heron, and another small freshwater Turtle
A Male Boattail Grackle
Juvenile Alligator, Early March 2016
The area where this Walmart shopping center is located on CR 466 is generally called the “Buffalo Ridge” area near The Villages, FL. It is across the highway from the charter schools. There are two small ponds at the right side of the shopping area and I often visit these bodies of water to spot a variety of wildlife. By the way, the juvenile Alligator is now about four feet long! Alligators grow quickly and especially so when there is a lot of food in their environment.
I often see Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, a Little Blue Heron, Anhingas, Coots, Moorhens, and various ducks in the two ponds. This also is where I saw that big flock of Cattle Egrets a few weeks ago. The larger of the two ponds is directly at the side of the Walmart parking lot. That larger pond often has more going on as far as bird life. Always fun to see which big birds are around! By the way, I love love love, the pizza at NYPD Pizza, which is at the shoreline of the smaller of the two ponds! No, they have not given me any consideration for this unofficial review! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Male Red-winged Blackbird
Double Crested Cormorant
Juvenile Alligator, April 9, 2016
While I was at the shopping center ponds the other day, I also spotted turtles, a couple of alligators, and an Anhinga perched up in a small tree right next to the shore of the pond. These were in addition to the Great Egret, pair of Hooded Mergansers, a Common Moorhen (red flesh over its bill), and the Common Coot. I ran out of room on Friday’s post, so I’ll show photos of these animals today. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
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!
Little Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Double Crested Cormorant
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
The “Surprise”! A Black Racer Snake
A Northern Mockingbird
A Young Alligator
Little Blue Heron
Alligators, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Bufflehead Duck, Mallard Ducks, Common Moorhens, Anhingas, Pied-billed Grebe, and Common Coots all were spotted at two small ponds right next to a small shopping center area near The Villages, Florida on Highway 466. Yes, right next to the Walmart! I took these pictures yesterday afternoon (Jan. 14, 2016). I have taken pictures at these ponds several different times in the last year. There often is wildlife to be seen there.
I am amazed at how well wildlife copes with all the new development. I am glad these wetlands, though tiny, were saved! I spotted three Alligators in the larger of the two ponds by the way and one of those was decent sized! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
Drake Mallard Ducks
Great Blue Heron
Pair of Mallard Ducks
Drake (male) Bufflehead Duck
Would you believe I took all these photographs yesterday morning from sunrise through about 9:00 AM at several local marshes, and lakes in both Sumter and Lake Counties in Florida. Amazing! I am so lucky to live in an area where there are so many larger birds (and animals) in the wild.
Additionally, I saw Sandhill Cranes, a Limpkin, Wood Storks, a Tri-colored Heron, Great Blue Herons, Mallard Ducks, and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. I’ll be posting snapshots of these birds in coming posts. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version. Enjoy!
Great Egrets, Snowy Egret & Common Cormorants
American White Ibis
Juvenile Little Blue Heron
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, South of Gainesville, Florida, is a beautiful place! It is close enough to a small city yet it is wilderness. Within the park there is a woodland area; a few fairly tropical-looking spots; the nice small Visitor’s Center; a vast, marshy prairie; small ponds; and a medium-sized lake.
We went into the interior of the park and paid the nominal day use fee. We did see the Alligator at the Highway 441 overlook just outside of the official park (no charge to go out on that boardwalk pier overlook). The huge observation tower within the main part of the park was closed for repairs yesterday.
There is a lot of varied wildlife at times within this park. I took these pictures on November 30, 2014. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
White Pelican and Cormorant
Roadway in Paynes Prairie State Park
Great Blue Heron
Here are some of the other critters I saw during my short vacation trip to St. Augustine, Florida a week ago. The Great Blue Heron was spotted at the RV park we stayed at. The Mallard flock and Great Cormorant were also RV park residents.
I spotted the Anhinga and the Common Cooter and Florida Soft Shell Turtle at a large freshwater pond behind the police station in St. Augustine Beach. I briefly saw the shell of that Soft Shell Turtle and can say that it was a very large turtle. That big pond was chock-full of turtles. I think I saw at least ten. I took these pictures on August 20, 2014 and again on August 21, 2014. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Hybrid Mallard & Mottled Cross Ducks
Florida Softshell Turtle
Common Cooter Turtle