I spotted this pair of Sandhill Cranes standing next to the golf cart path on Sumter County Road 466 on the Arnold Palmer Legends golf course in The Villages, FL on Sunday night at about 5:30pm.
It is not too unusual to see Sandhill Cranes on the courses here in The Villages. They love browsing for grass, seeds, and insects. Of course the tender grass is easy on their feet and most of the courses have a pond for them to drink from. I think the Sandhill Cranes pictured are Florida natives. We have several breeding pairs in the area. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
This Limpkin has visited the little Lake Mira-Mar in The Villages, FL near Spanish Springs several times. I have previously photographed the big wading bird at this same location. I usually see the Limpkin at the Veteran’s Park area next to the golf cart path at the approach to the golf cart bridge. The bird is pretty secretive and is usually nocturnal so the best times to see it would be early in the morning and at dusk. I took these pictures at dinner-time last night.
Limpkins are a wading bird that love eating the aquatic Apple Snails found in the small lakes here in The Villages. There are not very many Limpkins around at all. I have only seen three (and one of my sightings may well have been this bird at a different spot). The Limpkins are marsh birds that are primarily living here in Florida in the USA.
These birds are vaguely similar in looks to juvenile White Ibis, juvenile Green Herons and Bitterns. All are about the same size and have a streaky brown coloring. The Limpkin the only bird of its family type and is not related to rails or even the cranes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Egyptian Geese are apparently making a home for themselves here in the United States. I have occasionally spotted pairs or small groups of these African immigrant geese during the last couple of years.
I also recently saw a photo from Texas where a pair of Egyptian Geese were strolling around a golf course. I think that may have been the idea of bringing these geese here from Africa. The Egyptian Geese are lovely and seem to have an OK temperament. I took these pictures on Lake Paradise on May 9, 2017. I also earlier spotted Egyptian Geese at the lake behind Freedom Pointe in The Villages, where there were a family of these geese, but that was about two months back. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.
White Pelicans and Great Blue Herons
White Pelicans, Sandhill Cranes, a Great Blue Heron, Canada and Egyptian Geese, ducks a plenty and egrets were all spotted at Paradise Lake in Paradise Park, The Villages, Florida on Tuesday (5/9/17) evening at dusk. No rain in sight and the lake continues to shrink. As a blog friend mentioned in comments on a recent post here, the birds seem to be benefitting short-term from the low water levels.
Additionally, I took several pictures at the lake this morning (5/12/17) and saw Wood Storks, White Pelicans, shorebirds of some type (Plovers?), and a huge gathering of egrets and herons. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the very slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy! P.S. Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday!
Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, White Ibis
Sandhill Crane and Great Blue Heron in the Background
Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks
This flock of Sandhill Cranes has been frequenting the shrinking Paradise Lake in The Villages, Florida for a couple of weeks now, mostly at dusk. I have photographed these birds a few times now. The cranes are becoming lively and showing courtship ritual behaviors such as jumping up and dow with spread wings and vocalizing a little.
The lake is ultra-low now due to our on-going drought conditions. There is still a lot of food for the large birds in and on the lake. The grasses, seeds, frogs, tadpoles, crayfish, and aquatic weeds are all food for these beautiful big birds. I think we will be seeing and hearing the “Colts”, which are the baby Sandhill Cranes in several weeks! I can’t wait. I took these pictures last night at about 6:30pm. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
I spotted these Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, commonly called “Whistlers” on Sunday night at twilight at Lake Mira-mar in The Villages at Spanish Springs. The charming ducks whistle instead of quacking. This whistle is pretty high-pitched and distinctive. They are aloof but generally very sweet ducks. Beautiful with bright pink bills, legs and feet. The birds get the pink bill and feet when they become adults. They eat grains, seeds, and insects. They are a welcomed duck here in our area! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
These Sandhill Cranes were spotted in The Villages, FL on April 3, 2017 and also yesterday. I saw the big birds at both the Live Oak Park area near the pond North of the park on the East side, and also at Paradise Park. Both groups of the cranes were seen in the very early evening hours.
The flock at Paradise Park was quite near Swartz Park. This lake has two smaller parks and the large Paradise Park. The lake is ringed on three sides with homes and on the other side with the big park. The birds were there in search of their evening meal and probably to engage in courtship rituals. I saw a lot of jumping and flapping of wings. I am still getting to know my new-to-me camera which has a lot of adjustments I am not yet familiar with. I apparently had mis-set my speed and so most of the pictures of the Sandhill Cranes from Paradise Park were pretty blurry. Sad but true. I like the camera which is a hand-me-down from my husband. Much lighter to carry than the big 500mm zoom and older camera. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!