Wood Storks have been here in The Villages, FL, for about a month in larger numbers. A few days ago, I spotted seven of the large white and black birds at Lake Paradise. The big birds mostly are seen standing still or in flight. This is the second instance where I have seen Wood Storks laying on the ground resting. I noted that this behavior is similar to that seen in the White Ibis. I found it interesting.
The Wood Storks mostly fish by putting their large hard scoop-like bill into the mud and sucking in snails, larger insects, worms, tadpoles, frogs and small fish. I have read that some Wood Storks travel miles and miles from their tree roost to search for food. Amazing! I really enjoy seeing these birds! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
View of the some of the fields near the parking area and educational building
Sunnyhill Farm Restoration Area near Weirsdale, FL, (19411 SE Hwy 42), is a spot I occasionally visit to just take in the beautiful river-side prairie swampland scenery. This former working, now park, is huge at over 2,000 acres! Nearly all of the park is kept wild and is inhabited by river animals, prairie swamp animals and a variety of wading birds, ducks, and songbirds.
While we were there, we saw a pair of Sandhill Cranes along the road but there was not a good spot to stop to take the picture of them so we just went along our way (of course when we left the park, the cranes were long gone from the entrance road-way area). My hubby and I spent about an hour walking along river and canal trails and enjoyed ourselves quite a lot yesterday afternoon. The overcast and windy weather was not conducive for bird watching but we managed to spot a few different birds. We saw a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks, a Great Blue Heron, a lone Eastern Bluebird and an Eastern Pewee bird. We hope to go back again soon! It is a lovely spot! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
A Red-shouldered Hawk
A Great Blue Heron
An Eastern Pewee Bird
The Ocklawaha River
A Red-shouldered Hawk
A male Eastern Bluebird
A Great Egret
A Red-winged Blackbird, a Common Moorhen, a pair of Sandhill Cranes, a perched Great Egret, a partially submerged Anhinga, a trio of Double-crested Cormorants, a Pied-billed Grebe; Egyptian Geese; White Ibis; and a flock of Hooded Mergansers were all spotted here in The Villages, FL, late in the afternoon on Wednesday. I also saw a most lovely Monarch Butterfly on some wild Aster flowers.
The Grey Squirrels here have become the rodent version of the ever-begging White Ibis! When we parked the golf cart at Paradise Park, I immediately had four little squirrels come begging for any kind of hand-out treat that would be given. I had to say sorry to the little cuties but someone else had already provided a few tasty peanuts. I sure wish folks would stop feeding the wildlife here! Oh well…
Such fun to get out in beautiful weather and see the birds squirrels and yes, butterflies. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that picture. Enjoy!
A hen Moorhen
Male Red-winged Blackbird
A pair of Sandhill Cranes
A Scenic View of “Larry the Gator’s Pond”
Egyptian Goose and White Ibis
A Monarch Butterfly on an Aster flower
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
This pair of Florida Southern Bald Eagles is one that I have photographed several times in the past year. These eagles frequently perch on the top of the high tension electric towers on Enrique Drive near the El Santiago golf course here in The Villages, FL. This pair is one of several pairs of the Southern Bald Eagles that are resident all year-long, here in The Villages.
I took these pictures last Saturday late in the afternoon. It was a much cooler day than it has recently been here so the eagles probably did not mind perching on the metal much at all. I expect that the eagles only perch on the towers during cooler times of the day.
These eagles hunt for fish, mice, rats, small ducks, coots, squirrels, smaller rabbits, and snakes among other kinds of animals. The perch is high enough to give the eagles lots of views of the surrounding field and golf course area, in addition to neighborhood shrubbery. I am always thrilled to spot the Bald Eagles! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
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!