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!
White Pelicans and Great Blue Herons
White Pelicans, Sandhill Cranes, a Great Blue Heron, Canada and Egyptian Geese, ducks a plenty and egrets were all spotted at Paradise Lake in Paradise Park, The Villages, Florida on Tuesday (5/9/17) evening at dusk. No rain in sight and the lake continues to shrink. As a blog friend mentioned in comments on a recent post here, the birds seem to be benefitting short-term from the low water levels.
Additionally, I took several pictures at the lake this morning (5/12/17) and saw Wood Storks, White Pelicans, shorebirds of some type (Plovers?), and a huge gathering of egrets and herons. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the very slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy! P.S. Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday!
Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, White Ibis
Sandhill Crane and Great Blue Heron in the Background
Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks
This flock of Sandhill Cranes has been frequenting the shrinking Paradise Lake in The Villages, Florida for a couple of weeks now, mostly at dusk. I have photographed these birds a few times now. The cranes are becoming lively and showing courtship ritual behaviors such as jumping up and dow with spread wings and vocalizing a little.
The lake is ultra-low now due to our on-going drought conditions. There is still a lot of food for the large birds in and on the lake. The grasses, seeds, frogs, tadpoles, crayfish, and aquatic weeds are all food for these beautiful big birds. I think we will be seeing and hearing the “Colts”, which are the baby Sandhill Cranes in several weeks! I can’t wait. I took these pictures last night at about 6:30pm. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Sholom Park in Ocala is such a very beautiful place! It is very serene. That is the purpose of this gorgeous park which is designed for strolling and reflection. It is not a sports or picnic type of place. It is open to the public and is mainly used by the folks from the adjacent On Top of The World development along with those from the Del Webb development. It is open during the day and is free of charge.
While my hubby and I were at the park on Monday, I spotted a male Northern Cardinal bird and a Red-shouldered Hawk. No sign of any owls or Great Blue Herons at all. No sign of the former Great Blue Heron rookery. I think over the past couple of years, stormy weather has taken its toll on the great trees where these wading birds and owls had previously nested. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the image. Enjoy!
I am dedicating this blog post in memory of my late friend Donna who passed away on Easter in California. She will greatly be missed.
A Pied-billed Grebe
The Sharon Wiechens Nature Preserve in The Villages is a community treasure of a place! I really enjoy visiting this lake-side preserve here. I made a short trip there yesterday afternoon and saw quite a few different birds. I spotted two Southern Bald Eagles; a Pied Billed Grebe; a flying hen Mallard Duck; a Great Egret; a Glossy Ibis; a nesting Moorhen; and a few Boat-tailed Grackles.
I also saw a few Common Coots there at the preserve. Usually I spot something different when we visit each time. There is a fantastic boardwalk deck overlook which loops around into the lake itself over the shallow marsh. I also occasionally go up onto the wooden observation deck structure for a quick look around. I did not see any Sherman’s Fox Squirrels this trip. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A Great Egret
Male Boat-tailed Grackles
A Glossy Ibis
Southern Bald Eagles (From a distance)
A Hen Mallard
Common Moorhen on its Nest
This flock of about eleven Sandhill Cranes visited the rapidly drying-up beautiful little Paradise Lake in The Villages, Florida on Monday, April 3, 2017 at dusk. I think the feeding was great for the big birds! There were a lot of aquatic plants exposed as well as easily caught minnows, tadpoles, small fish, frogs, and the like.
I think these birds were doing courtship dances as several were hopping and flapping their wings. They also were vocalizing in a low soft manner. It also was pretty humorous to see a Great Blue Heron fly over near where the cranes were at and see the reaction of both kinds of birds. After just a moment of being harassed by the cranes, the heron flew to another area of the lake were the other birds were tiny ones! Ha!
I believe this group is just visiting but may be from the region. We have both migratory and native Sandhill Cranes here. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy! P.S. It rained on Tuesday – a nice good soaker! – Wildlifewatcher
A Pied-billed Grebe was spotted recently at the Wal-Mart pond on CR 466 in the Buffalo Ridge neighborhood of The Villages, FL.
The Pied-billed Grebe is a small diving water bird that is most frequently seen in fresh water ponds and lakes. The bird eats small fish, aquatic insects and worms, small frogs, small crayfish, and some aquatic plants. These birds are not often spotted here but I do enjoy their shy antics.
I also am including a photo taken by my hubby with a cell phone camera (not so great quality but I included it because seeing the rarely spotted bird was interesting) last evening at dusk. It is of a Limpkin we spotted at Lake Mira Mar in The Villages, FL, next to the golf cart bridge path. Limpkins are not often seen here and are quite secretive. They dine on Apple Snails and other aquatic insects and snails. Limpkins are most often out and about in very dim light conditions. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photograph. Enjoy!