This charming Wood Stork was hanging out with the Canada Geese and Egyptian Geese on the shoreline of Lake Paradise in The Villages a few days ago in the early evening. I have been occasionally seeing Wood Storks here recently but they are not common in the area.
The Wood Storks reportedly will fly up to 80 miles from their roosting nests to find food. These birds nest in tall trees over shallow water in marshes and swamps. The water under the nests prevents raccoons from eating the chicks or eggs when nests are occupied with young birds. I have not seen any Wood Stork nests here in our area. These birds have recently been on the endangered species lists so they are protected by law.
Wood Storks scoop up small fish, frogs, baby turtles, aquatic snails and some vegetation and seeds with their sturdy big bills. They do best on natural food and should not be fed by visitors to the park lakes. Wood Storks are pleasant quiet and in my opinion, charming, wild exotic birds. They are a real treasure! Please see the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
This flock of Glossy Ibis were hanging out on the side of a freshwater marsh and golf course area here in The Villages, FL early this evening at about 5:00pm. This is the first time I have ever seen these two types of birds together. I also have never seen so many Glossy Ibis in one spot. These birds are a dark mahogany brown with blue-green accents and are oh-so-pretty! The Glossy Ibis’ feathers really shine in a metallic way when in breeding plumage (now).
The ducks are nearly the same color as the ibis. I also saw a scant few Mallards and some crows there too. A beautiful pair of Sandhill Cranes (photographs will be posted here in coming days) joined in the feeding frenzy. There must have been some really tasty stuff there – perhaps duck chow grain from a neighbor? Who can say. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Male Boat-tailed Grackle
Eastern Bluebirds, a Boat-tailed Grackle, a Tufted Titmouse, a lovely pair of Sandhill Cranes and a lot of White Ibis, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Anhingas were all spotted here in The Villages, FL in the last couple of days.
I took the photo of the roosting birds on Morse Blvd. just below Rio Grande, on Monday 2/19/18, at twilight. That roosting area was active for years, and then was abandoned for the last year. This marshland is once again wet, so hundreds of wading birds such as ibis, egrets, herons, and anhingas, are back every night to rest!
I took the photos of the songbirds, here in my neighborhood. The weather has been fine so the birds have been out and about much more! The photograph of the Sandhill Cranes was taken just off of Morse Blvd. along CR 466 along the multi-modal path. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.
White Ibis Heading to the Roost
Female Eastern Bluebird
Tufted titmouse on a Palm
White Pelicans at Freedom Pointe Lake
These American White Pelicans were spotted at Freedom Pointe Lake and the Torri Pines Golf Pond here in The Villages Florida a week ago. There are pelicans at several spots here this month. The White Pelicans love our warm winter weather and have come from the Mid-western U.S.A. to spend a few months each year.
Pelicans eat fish primarily but also will enjoy baby alligators, frogs, and smaller soft shell turtles. They fish by working cooperatively to encircle fish and then scoop them into their bill pouch. At times, the Double-crested Cormorants also work well with the pelicans to get their fish dinners. Most of the little lakes and ponds have plenty of food for the flocks of these big birds! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of each photo. Enjoy!
American White Pelicans at Torri Pines Golf Course Pond
American White Pelican in Flight at Freedom Pointe Lake
This Wood Stork was spotted on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 on the shore of the lovely little golf course pond at the Torri Pines golf course in The Villages, FL. I had posted this past week about several different birds spotted there during that photo-taking visits.
We have a few Wood Storks here all year around but we do see more of these big birds in the winter months. The Wood Storks are usually seen in very small groups or as singles. I think I have only seen a larger group of maybe around a dozen Wood Storks together once here. Wood Storks mostly will hunt by scooping with their large sturdy bill into the water or softer mud. They eat small aquatic animals, aquatic insects, aquatic mollusks and these birds will occasionally eat grains roots and seeds.
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
This Red-bellied Woodpecker was quite noisily chatty when flying between a Washington Palm and a bountiful acorn-filled Live Oak at the shoreline of the pretty Freedom Pointe Lake here in The Villages, Florida on Sunday morning, Dec. 17, 2017. I just love these boisterous birds! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Whistling Ducks, and Mallard Ducks were both spotted here in The Villages, FL this past Sunday. I was happy to see the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at the marsh where I also had spotted many egrets. I also saw the Mallards there. Lake Paradise has a bunch of Mottled Ducks and Mallard Ducks right now.
Later in the Winter, there will be a lot of other breeds of migrating ducks here on our many ponds and lakes. I so enjoy watching the ducks. By the way, most of this bunch of Whistlers were juveniles with their bluish-pink bills, legs and feet! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Great and Snowy Egrets and Mallard Ducks
Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and several other kinds of wading birds and water birds were all spotted at a large freshwater marsh/rainfall retention area that is a nature preserve here in The Villages, FL community. This bird spot is located on Buena Vista Blvd. just South of the Lake Miona Recreation Center and the Bass Fishing Pond on that same street.
There were perhaps fifty egrets there with additional Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons, White Ibis, and Mottled Ducks, Mallard Ducks and the ever popular Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (including many juvenile whistlers)! A truly nice gathering of birds to observe. I took these pictures yesterday morning from the grassy area off of the multi-modal path near a nicely placed bench. I of course used my long lens as the birds were quite a distance away. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly smaller version of the photo. Enjoy!
Egrets and Florida Mottled Ducks
Egrets in the Preserve
I spotted this Limpkin at the shoreline of Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL on Saturday evening at dusk. The Limpkin is a wading bird that is unique as it is not related to the other types of wading birds although it does resemble the rails and the bittern (and even juvenile Green Herons). These birds primarily eat aquatic snails with Apple Snails being preferred. This is the first Limpkin I have seen at Lake Paradise but I had seen one on the nearby Lake Miramar just across the highway, several months ago on three occasions.
Limpkin are mostly active at night and are very shy. This particular bird was standing on a concrete culvert on the immediate shoreline about twenty feet from the multi-modal (golf carts, bicycles and pedestrians) pathway leading to the Silver Lake Village neighborhood. I am thrilled to have seen the bird and photographed it. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
These Great Egrets were spotted in The Villages, Florida at El Santiago Golf Pond, Silver Lake Recreation Center Pond, and Lake Paradise near Schwartz Park and Boone Park. I took these pictures this past weekend. Some of the areas are harder to get to still due to minor flooding, but more areas are opening up once again.
The Great Egrets eat small fish, frogs, turtles, baby alligators, mice, lizards, baby birds, and snakes (and other small critters). They fish with their long sharp yellow bills and spear their prey. These birds are mostly wading birds but they do hunt on land in shrubbery and on lawns at times. Great Egrets are white with yellow bills, black legs and black feet. They are among the tallest of the egrets. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!