These wading birds and the duck were all spotted at the little Freedom Pointe Lakes on El Camino Blvd. in The Villages, FL this past weekend. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Mottled Ducks and Whistling Ducks were seen at a couple of ponds here in The Villages last week and also a couple of weeks ago. These ducks live at our ponds here all year around and are wild ducks. They eat pond insects, small tadpoles, tiny fish, grains and seeds.
The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are the one with the gorgeous pink bill and feet. The Florida Mottled Ducks resemble their cousins the Mallard Ducks and the Black Ducks. In fact, there are many hybrid Mallard Mottles here. Florida tries to keep the population of wild Mallard Ducks very low to help prevent inter-breeding. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
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!