Yesterday afternoon my husband and I visited the Weichens nature preserve here in The Villages, FL. We saw several really wonderful birds. No squirrels this time as it was hot and very windy out. One has to take their time at this preserve. Because the rules say that visitors need to stay on the sidewalk and boardwalk, the viewing space through the lawn area is pretty distant as far as birds go. The Sherman’s Fox Squirrels usually hang out on the ground near the sidewalk so that is a plus.
Take your time if visiting. Being patient is helpful in that birds often appear out of nowhere and only stay a brief moment or two in one spot. By the way, thanks to a knowledgeable reader, I have identified the hawk I saw yesterday as a Sharp-shinned Hawk. Beautiful bird! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
Male Common Moorhen
Family of Common Moorhens
Osprey in Flight
Little Blue Heron
Common Moorhen Chick
A Pied-billed Grebe and several Common Moorhens were spotted a few days ago at the lovely Sharon Weichens Preserve in The Villages on Lake Deaton. The Pied-billed Grebe is a small duck-like water bird that dives for fish, frogs, tadpoles, small turtles and larger aquatic insects. The little grebe is shy and pretty wary of people, preferring to dive in the middle of freshwater bodies of water such as ponds and lakes. This grebe has a tan-colored medium-sized bill that has a black wavy stripe along the middle of it.
I enjoy seeing the Common Moorhens here in The Villages. They are similar to Common Coots but instead of having a white fleshy area over their bill, they have a bright red area. The hens are a grayish-brown and the drakes are charcoal grey to black sometimes with a slight purple hue. They are quite similar to Purple Gallinules which are their cousins. These birds eat aquatic plants, and grasses. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
The Pied-billed Grebe
An Observation Deck at the Preserve
Male Common Moorhen
Hen Common Moorhen
Common Moorhen in Flight
Lake Deaton Scenery Viewed from the Preserve
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
This pair of Morning Doves was happily browsing on the ground and then perching on a low wooden rail fence at the beautiful little Four Oaks Park on Morse Ave. in The Villages, Florida. I spotted the serene doves on Sunday afternoon during a quick golf cart visit to the park and nearby Lake Sumter. The park is only accessible by cart, on foot, or by bike via the multi-modal path.
The doves were cooing and seemed quite tame. I think they also like those White Ibises and ducks, get lots of hand-outs from residents and visitors. This little park is a gem that also has a small observation deck overlooking the Lake Sumter marshes. During the visit I also spotted a Little Blue Heron, a Palm Warbler, and an Osprey. It was a nice quick visit! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
Lower Suwannee Refuge
Juvenile Bald Eagle
Here are more photographs of wildlife I took near Cedar Key, FL, the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, and Levy County Road 326 (Eagle and Armadillo), on November 16, 2014. I really enjoyed visiting both places tremendously! By the way, the Armadillo was the first living Banded Armadillo I have ever seen. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
These Muscovy Ducks were friendly residents of the shoreline of a body of water quite close to Juliette, GA on Highway 18. I think that this body of water is a large dammed section of the river but it also could be a small segment of Lake Juliette. I am not sure. These ducks have had a lot of visitors feeding them over the years, I think.
My husband and I were the only people visiting the small park’s dirt parking lot, just off the highway early one evening at about 6:00pm, and boy, the ducks were sure interested in us! The ducks begged but we did not have anything to offer so they got the message and waddled off. These are often farm ducks and I think the pair may have been offspring of escapees from a nearby farm.
This area of Georgia is lush and oh-so-beautiful! Juliette, GA is where the 1991 movie, “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” was filmed. We were only there for about a half-hour as we were RV camping for the night in Forsythe, GA, about 20 miles away. We were on-route from FL to TN on that particular trip earlier this Summer. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy! Have a great and safe Labor Day holiday today.
Yellowstone National Park, June 2014.
Top left: Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Top center: Yellowstone Falls. Top right: Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Basalt Columns.
Middle row left: Yellowstone River at Nez Perce Ford. Middle row center: Yellowstone Lake. Middle row right: A boiling Mud Pot at the Mud Volcano area.
Bottom left: View of the Grand Teton mountains from Yellowstone National Park. Bottom center: The Lamar Valley. Bottom right: The Yellowstone River.
Sorry no pictures of geysers. It was very cold while I was at Yellowstone – in the upper 30’s and very low 40’s F. during the day. It snowed twice in the five days we visited, and was raining on several of the days. Brrr. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of that photo. As ever, enjoy! This post with scenic views was by special request. Back to wildlife with the next post, and I will have a pleasant surprise.