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
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
A Lesser Yellowlegs with reflections on the lake
Lake Paradise is one of the little park lakes here in The Villages, Florida. It is home to a variety of birds big and small. The level of the lake is way down now. We are in a drought. This is a man-made lake and depends on rainfall for its water.
I spotted the Belted Kingfisher again. I have photographed the bird several different times. I also saw a pair of Canada Geese browsing up in the park near the shoreline. There were about a hundred small shorebirds and Seagulls. The shorebirds likely were some type of plovers and Lesser Yellowlegs. I also saw a lone Snowy Egret and a lone Great Blue Heron. The sad fact is that those shorebirds were wading in what should be the middle of the lake in mere inches of water.
Not many ducks at all this morning. I took the pictures at about 8:00am. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Low water levels!
Shorebirds (probably Plovers)
I hear this Northern Mockingbird pretty often but only see the lively bird once in a while. This time the song I heard was an imitation of the Northern Cardinal.
It makes me laugh when the Mockingbird suddenly changes its singing and out of the open beak, comes the song of a totally different species of bird. Just like that, two or even three bird songs in a row. Talented!
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Have a happy St. Patrick’s Day!
This male Hooded Merganser duck was spotted on Sunday March 5, 2017, at the Wal-Mart pond on CR 466 in The Villages, Florida.
The Hooded Merganser was first seen lounging on the base of a large pond fountain. After a moment, the duck slid into the water and paddled off in search of a bite to eat. I did not see a female or hen with the merganser. I did see a few Mallard Ducks there as well as a Little Blue Heron and a single Common Moorhen.
Hooded Mergansers are gorgeous ducks. The males are rusty-brown, white and black in color. Male Hooded Mergansers have a large white hooded region on their heads that they raise when alert or to signal danger to the other ducks. These ducks dive for prey of fish, frogs, crayfish, tadpoles and small tender turtles.
I have been seeing the Hooded Mergansers with some Bufflehead Ducks, and Lesser Scaups around the community in the last couple of weeks. Pretty soon, these migratory ducks will head North. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Double Crested Cormorants are local resident birds but there also are quite a few flocks of migrating birds here in this area during the Winter months.
Double Crested Cormorants are meat-eating birds. They dive and catch fish, frogs, turtles and baby alligators. They often are spotted with flocks of White Pelicans or among Great and Snowy Egrets. They spread their wings to dry them after coming out of the water.
These birds closely resemble the Anhinga but they are larger bodied and have a broader bill that has a slight downward hook on the end. I took these pictures last week here in The Villages at a pond in the Polo Ridge neighborhood and also at the small lakes at Freedom Pointe. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Four Glossy Ibis, a Bald Eagle, a pair of Sandhill Cranes, a Great Egret, a beautiful Tribute-colored Heron, Sherman’s Fox Squirrels, a Grey Squirrel, Common Moorhens, and a Little Blue Heron were all spotted at the wonderful Sharon Weichens Nature Preserve here in The Villages, Florida yesterday afternoon.
It had rained (thankfully) earlier in the day so the birds were out in force gobbling up many food items that had washed into the medium-sized lake at this beautiful preserve. I do not think I have ever spotted so many different types of birds and animals while there at the preserve. We were there at about 3:30 in the afternoon.
That Bald Eagle looks like it is starting a nest up on the high tension line tower. I was a long way away from the eagle and was happy I had the long lens. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. P.S. I will post more pictures I took today in a future post.
Little Blue Heron
Grey Squirrel with a nut
Sherman’s Fox Squirrel
Southern Bald Eagle