A Great Egret hunting in the bushes along the multi-modal cart path, for snakes lizards and mice; and a Sandhill Crane browsing on the grass at the side of the multi-modal golf cart path here in The Villages.
The egret was near the Hacienda Golf Course and the crane was near CR466 and Morse Blvd. It is pretty unusual to see the Sandhill Cranes so close to the paths and people! I took these pictures on Tuesday Jan. 6, 2019. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Sandhill Cranes are here in my area for the Winter months. Some are even year-round residents. The big grey, white, beige, and red birds are most often spotted near grassy areas where there also is a pond, lake, or river nearby. They eat grass, grains, and occasionally snails, small fish, tadpoles and other small aquatic prey. Mostly, they are vegetarians. While observing the cranes, I also spotted a feisty Eastern Blue Jay, a pretty Palm Warbler and a female Northern Cardinal.
In The Villages, in Sumter County, FL, the Sandhill Cranes sometimes are seen around golf courses where they are admired and are not terribly inconvenient for the golfers (unlike the ‘gators). I took these pictures on December 30, 2015 at a spot fairly close to the Live Oaks Park near Sumter Square and Lake Sumter. I think someone had put bird seed down (not me). The big birds enjoyed an easy meal! I also saw the pair at a small pond near that same area. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
A gathering of Common Cormorants, Great and Snowy Egrets, White Pelicans, and Wood Storks, all in a small cove end of a large pond was an amazing sight to see! I spotted the groups of big birds in a pond connected by a large pipe to the small neighborhood lake here.
This pond is ringed only by homes and has no public access. I took the pictures from the street at a tiny park, a long way from where the birds were. I am thankful that my long 150-500 lens could get the pictures. this is a secret spot, where the birds can relax away from people for the most part. I took the pictures at dusk on Dec. 7, 2015. The pond has a large fountain going at full blast where the White Pelicans and many of the Common Cormorants were paddling slowly. I also saw to my great happiness, a couple of Bufflehead Ducks! They are my favorite ducks! Please click on the thumbnail images to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
This Tri-color Heron lives along the shore of a small park lake a couple of blocks behind the Sharon Morse auditorium near The Villages. I usually see American Ibises and sometimes a Great Egret, Anhinga, or Wood Storks there at that lake. That little lake also is inhabited by one or more Alligators! Occasionally there are also various ducks around the shore too.
The Tri-color Heron is a medium-sized heron. The Tri-color Heron eats fish, aquatic snails, tadpoles, frogs, small turtles, aquatic worms, larger insects, and occasionally, duck eggs or newly hatched ducklings. Once in awhile, this heron will go hunting on shore and will catch small lizards, mice, snakes, and even land insects but mostly it enjoys aquatic foods. I took these pictures on Dec. 3, 2015. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy! Wishing all who celebrate, a happy Hanukkah!