This Little Blue Heron and a pair of Mallard Ducks were spotted on the shore of a small pond in the Buffalo Plaza shopping area next to the NYPD Pizza restaurant on CR 466 in The Villages, FL on Friday at twilight. I have sometimes seen a Little Blue Heron at this pond at times in the past during the Winter months. There also was a camera shy Common Moorhen at the pond.
I have photographed birds at the pond before but it has been quite a while since I have seen much there. I did check out the larger pond just to the Northeast on the Eastern side of the Walmart parking lot but did not see anything there other than a Great Egret. Recently there has been some landscaping with the big grasses and reeds having been cut so perhaps that has affected the desirability of the pond for the big birds. I also did not see any alligators. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. 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!
Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Cattle Egrets, White Ibis and the grand Wood Storks are large white wading birds that have been here in The Villages in recent weeks. The Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and White Ibis are here all the time, but the Cattle Egrets are very occasional. The Wood Storks come and go every few weeks it seems. The other large white birds are the White Pelicans, which are here in the Winter and early Spring, the white phase of the Little Blue Heron, and the white Great Blue Herons.
The only ones of these listed that really are not truly wading birds, are the Cattle Egrets which prefer being in cattle or horse pastures along with the livestock. All of these birds are great flyers and the Wood Storks have been known for flying quite a long ways to find food. I believe many of the Ibis and egrets are now roosting on Lake Mira-mar near the Veteran’s Memorial Park end of the little lake (having probably moved from the now abandoned roosts on Morse Blvd. near Rio Grande). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.
Tri-colored Herons were spotted on September 8, 2016 in The Villages, FL. I was out and about and spotted the beautiful steel-blue-grey with cream and highlights of maroon red-colored wading birds at the beautiful little Lake Mira-mar, near the Spanish Springs Square.
The Tri-color Herons are medium-sized wading birds that fish by spearing their prey which is usually fish or frogs, with their sharp bill. The Tri-color Herons wade in shallow waters of lakes, marshes, ponds, and rivers. These herons roost (rest and sleep) and nest in the branches of trees, with Cypress often being a chosen tree species here in Florida.
I really enjoy birding in The Villages. So much to see, as far as wildlife and nature, within the development! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
I saw these Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at Lake Mira Mar in The Villages, FL, on Sept. 7, 2016 and also at Paradise Lake in The Villages on the same day. I enjoy spotting these pretty rust, black, white and pink ducks! They whistle when communicating in similar ways other ducks quack. We are fortunate to have several small flocks of whistlers here at the moment! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of the picture. By the way, my computer has been repaired and I am back to my regular schedule of posts.
Here are pictures of three Great Blue Herons that I took about in the last couple of weeks at three different spots. One heron was at Lake Miramar near Spanish Springs Town Square, one was at the ever fun Walmart pond at Buffalo Ridge on CR 466 and the last of these Great Blue Herons was at Santiago Golf Course pond – all in The Villages, FL.
All these are beautiful big wading birds that hunt for fish, frogs, small turtles, ducklings, eggs, aquatic snails and sometimes shoreline mice, snakes, and lizards. An interesting thing happened last evening at about 7:00pm. I spotted a Great Blue Heron sitting on top of an air conditioning unit at the side of a lake front home here. That bird was absolutely sitting on the side of the house! I never would have expected to see that behavior. No, so sorry, I did not have my camera with me. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Great Blue Heron & Wood Stork
This Wood Stork was strolling around the shore of the Santiago golf course pond in The Villages, Florida, a few days ago with several other wading and shorebirds. Amazingly, a Bald Eagle overlooked the scene. I am thrilled to see the Wood Stork as it has been several months since I last spotted any Wood Storks here in The Villages.
The Wood Stork uses its large thick bill to scoop through the mud for bits of worms, snails, insects, aquatic plants and pretty much any small aquatic animals to eat. I just love seeing these endangered species list big birds! I think they are so serene and unique. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Wood Stork & Glossy Ibis
This Glossy Ibis in its breeding finery was spotted a few days ago at the Santiago Golf Course pond in The Villages, Florida. I took the pictures at about 7:00PM. This is the first Glossy Ibis I have seen that was so brilliantly colored. A show-off stunner of a bird!
These wading birds enjoy aquatic worms, aquatic plants, some insects, tiny fish, tadpoles, and the occasional seeds and grains. They like freshwater marshes but the manicured lawn shoreline of a golf course will do just fine, of course! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
This Southern Bald Eagle was spotted perching on the top of a high tension electric line tower at the Santiago Golf Course, and Recreation Center in The Villages, Florida. This tower over-looks the large golf course pond which also attracts a lot of wild birds and ducks. So in addition to fish, there seems to be plenty to eat for this eagle.
I think this eagle frequents the tower as I saw the same bird in the same place two evenings in a row. I photographed the bird at about 7:00pm on May 18-19, 2016. By the way, I have heavily cropped the photographs so you can more easily see the bird. I so enjoy seeing the amazing amount of wildlife here in The Villages! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
This Glossy Ibis was spotted on Saturday, April 30 2016 at a small parkland pond in The Villages, Florida. This pond is located on Morse Ave. above CR 466 and is along the golf cart multi-modal path. This pond is near the beautiful Live Oaks Park and Lake Sumter.
Glossy Ibises are a little more common than the White Ibis in the USA but here in Central Florida, the White Ibis are more numerous. This Glossy Ibis is the third Glossy Ibis I have seen in the last year. Some can easily confuse the Glossy Ibis with juvenile White Ibises but the Glossy is a deep brown all over without any hint of white. The juvenile White Ibises have a light brown color with a pinkish bill and begin to turn white fairly young.
By the way, in addition to the Sandhill Cranes, the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, egret, and Florida Mottled Ducklings I saw at this pond with the ibis, I also spotted a Great Blue Heron! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
Glossy Ibis (at far right)
Great Blue Heron