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!
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 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!
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!
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.
Little Blue Heron
Seagulls, Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets have been here on the little park lakes in recent days. The weather has been very windy here so the bird watching is not as active. It is also nesting time. I took these pictures at Lake Paradise which has a low water level now, and also at the lake behind Freedom Pointe here in The Villages, FL. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
This tiny bird is a male Downy Woodpecker. It is among the smallest of the woodpeckers in the United States. You can tell it is a male by that red spot on the crown of its head.
The Downy was pecking away at a larger branch in my Live Oak Trees when I spotted it. It flitted around from branch to branch in search of insects. Sometimes when the bird drills or pecks it is done to communicate, other times the drumming or pecking is to drill a hole or enlarge a hole for either a nesting place, or a storage unit. The other reason for pecking, is to discover and dislodge insects in the bark of the tree.
I always love seeing these birds! This is the first woodpecker here in quite a long time. I wish the light was better when I took the pictures. The Live Oaks in the yard are gigantic and are very shady. I had a hard time getting a decent picture and have resorted to heavy editing to show the bird in a way you can see a bit of what the fellow looks like. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!