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Sandhill Cranes

Last week I spotted several Sandhill Cranes here in The Villages, FL along pond shorelines at Morse Blvd. and CR 466 (near Live Oak Park) and at the Arnold Palmer Legends golf course also along CR 466 near Laurel Manor Recreation Center.

These are native Florida Sandhill Cranes.  I think we have many breeding pairs and small family groups around the area.  The Sandhill Cranes especially like the fringes of golf courses near the ponds.  Plenty of food and water and most golfers don’t mind the presence of the cranes since the cranes mostly are hanging out on the fringes of the courses near fences or under the trees.  It is always a big pleasure to see these large lovely birds!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

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Great Blue Herons

I spotted these Great Blue Herons here in The Villages, FL at two local lakes and at one golf course pond.  These waders are frequently spotted around the area fishing for frogs, small fish like Bluegill Perch, and small turtles or crawfish (crayfish or crawdads).  I enjoy watching them stalk their prey and finally catch the fish by spearing it with their long sharp bill.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!  P.S.  So sorry I have been offline for a few days.  I was representing Florida at the U.S. National Senior Games Archery Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama,  and am happy to say, I am a Bronze Medalist for my class.

Wading Bird Wednesday: Sandhill Cranes

I spotted this pair of Sandhill Cranes standing next to the golf cart path on Sumter County Road 466 on the Arnold Palmer Legends golf course in The Villages, FL on Sunday night at about 5:30pm.

It is not too unusual to see Sandhill Cranes on the courses here in The Villages. They love browsing for grass, seeds, and insects.  Of course the tender grass is easy on their feet and most of the courses have a pond for them to drink from.  I think the Sandhill Cranes pictured are Florida natives.  We have several breeding pairs in the area.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.  Enjoy!

A Sassy Eastern Blue Jay

This sassy Eastern Blue Jay visited my neighborhood on Monday afternoon.  I was quite happy to have seen this newcomer.  We don’t get a lot of Blue Jays here.  This bird was scouting out the sassy lawns (pretty dried out now and tan showing through the green) for tasty bugs to eat.

The jay squawked at me a couple of times and then flew to a neighboring roof to continue its search for a bite to eat.  After a moment it was on to other places.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  By the way, please bear with me while I change over to a different photo edit picture loading software.  Aperture is giving me a very hard time now days.  Thanks!

 

 

A Flock of Whistlers Visits

A largish flock of perhaps seventy or so, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks or “Whistlers” as they are also known, came in waves the other evening to feed along the shore of Paradise Lake in The Villages, FL.  I enjoy seeing the flock and hearing their lovely whistle calls.

I was amazed that group after group kept coming in from the Spanish Springs, Lake Miramar area (nearby across the highway).  I was too far away from where the ducks were feeding to get clear shots so I am just including the shots of the ducks in flight mostly.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

Wordless Wednesday: Tri-colored Heron

I photographed this Tri-colored Heron at Paradise Lake in The Villages, Fl, on Sunday evening.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.  Enjoy!

Herons

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Herons, Tri-colored Herons, and Little Blue Herons are the most commonly seen herons here in The Villages, Florida.  The Great Blue Heron is the most frequently seen, followed by the Little Blue Heron.  I think I have only seen one Green Heron here and that was a year ago.

All of these herons are wading birds that shuffle along in the shallows of the lakes and ponds to spear fish, frogs, or turtles with their long sharp bills.  They also eat larger insects, small lizards, and large aquatic insects or snails.

The herons roost up in tall trees.  Many prefer the Cypress Trees here.  Some also will roost in the medium-sized trees where there also are Ibis or Egrets.  We used to have a large area of roosts on Morse Blvd. (I had photographed it and posted about it many months ago) but that area seems out of favor with the birds in recent months.  I don’t know the reason for the big move.  It could be a case of too much threat from coyotes or other predators.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of the photo.

Tri-colored Heron

Little Blue Heron

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