Here are a few photographs I have taken over the years of Tri-Colored Herons here in The Villages, Florida. The Tri-colored Herons are not frequently seen here. These birds are beautiful medium-sized herons with steel grey, orange, and cream coloring.
Tri-colored Herons eat aquatic snails, small fish, frogs, and smaller turtles with occasional ducklings, and larger aquatic insects. I have always enjoyed seeing these Tri-Colored Herons! Please click on the thumbnail image to see each photo slightly enlarged. Enjoy!
Sandhill Cranes are found here in The Villages, FL, in several spots all year long. We have a native Southern Sandhill Crane population that mostly stays on or near golf courses or park areas near ponds. These large birds eat grasses, seeds, insects, aquatic plants, aquatic snails, and occasionally small fish or frogs.
We usually see the Sandhill Cranes in pairs or family units with parents and one or two offspring, called “Colts”. When traveling, the cranes will flock up and sometimes we will see ten or even twenty of the cranes here along the shore of our small lakes. I am always thrilled to see the Sandhill Cranes! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
Mallard Ducks are commonly found here on ponds and lakes. They are handsome social ducks but are not highly appreciated here in Florida as they interbreed with the native Mottled Ducks and create hybrids. I have spotted these Mallard/Mottled Duck hybrids here.
One of the main characteristics of the Mallard Ducks is their loud quacking. they are very vocal and call when flocking up, when trying to attract a female mate, and when alarmed. These ducks have a true strong quack, quack, quack, unlike several other ducks that whistle, chirp or lightly quack.
The males have blue-green feathers on the top of their head and have a streaky tan-colored body with blue and white wing bars. They also have orange feet and a yellow-green bill. The hens are a streaky tan also with the blue and white wing bars, orange feet and yellow-green bill.
Please click on the the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
The Great Egrets here in Florida are the larger of the egrets. These are lovely white birds that have a golden yellow sharp large bill and black legs and feet. In the breeding season of late Winter, the Great Egrets develop long lacy feathers. The Great Egrets are wading birds that stroll in the shallows of ponds, lakes, marshes and rivers to find shellfish, fish, frogs, larger insects and turtles. These birds also will take to land and patrol the landscaped areas for mice, lizards and snakes to eat.
Great Egrets also are great at flying and sometimes will flock together to migrate. We do have a year around population here but have a considerable number of birds come for the Winter. Wishing all the ladies a very happy Mother’s Day on Sunday. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Canada Goose at Lake Paradise
(Please click on each of the thumbnail images to see the slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!)
Sandhill Crane on Hacienda Golf Course
White Pelicans at the Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course Driving Range Pond
Limpkin Eating an Apple Snail at Lake Mira-mar
Coots, Common Moorhens, and Purple Gallinules are seen in The Villages, FL on occasion and mostly in the shallow marshes or prairies. I often spot these birds at the Sharon Rose Wiechens Nature Preserve. The Coots are migratory and usually seen in the Winter here and are often on Lake Sumter in large numbers. The Moorhens and Purple Gallinules are year around resident birds with the Moorhens being a lot more commonly seen (pardon the pun).
The Coots are a charcoal black with a white face for both of the sexes. The Purple Gallinules are a vivid blue and purple with a yellow blue and red bill. The Common Gallinule or Moorhen, resembles the coot but has a red face and the females are brown with the red face. The Coots, Common Moorhens and Purple Gallinules all are Rails. These birds have a loud cry when alarmed and also sound a bit like a chicken clucking when in their normal communication mode. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.
Male Common Moorhen or Common Gallinule
Hen Common Gallinule or Moorhen
Coots with a Moorhen
Most of the White Pelicans have started leaving for their homes up North now. I have only seen just a handful of the big white birds around here in the last week. We still have several groups of the cormorants but those too, will be off on their Spring migration very soon.
I took most of these pictures within the past month here on the ponds and small lakes at the Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course; Freedom Pointe Lakes; La Hacienda Golf Course pond; and Golf View Lake pond, and Lake Paradise. These are all places where year after year, I have spotted White Pelicans in Winter months.
The White Pelicans arrive in December and leave around the first two weeks of April here. We did have a few stick around all year long this past year here. That was unusual. Our ponds here have been fished heavily with all the pelicans, cormorants, fishing ducks and wading birds that have been here these last few months. It was wonderful to see the pelicans and I will eagerly await their return next Winter! Please click on the thumbnail images to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!