I spotted these Cattle Egrets at Lake Paradise in The Villages on Saturday afternoon. I noticed the huge flock perched in a tree and on the roof of one of the lake front homes. How about that! I think the residents were away for the afternoon.
These egrets seldom visit this lake. I think the big flock was on its way elsewhere and was resting. Cattle Egrets live in pastures among cows and horses mostly. They dine on insects. I think the cool water and pleasant surroundings were a nice place to rest. I sure enjoyed the unusual sight. By the way, the two geese next to the flock of egrets are Egyptian Geese. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
I spotted White Ibises at two parks this last week here in The Villages. Actually, these wading birds are pretty commonly seen in neighborhoods and at local ponds and lakes. The small flocks were at Paradise Park and Lake Mira-mar in the golf cart parking areas near the lakes.
Ibises at the Lake Mira-mar parking lot are known to be champion beggars! They wait for treats from well-meaning tourists/grandkids who feed them bread and cereal as if they are park ducks (people should not feed exotic wild birds). These are really good birds as they eat insects and are charming to watch. By the way, the one in the photo that is partially brown is an older juvenile. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A Cattle Egret
Cattle Egrets, Snowy Egrets and the Great Egrets have been here in The Villages, Florida this past week at several park lakes. I spotted the Cattle and Snowy Egrets at the Freedom Pointe lakes, and the Great Egret at the gazebo at Boone Park on Paradise Lake.
The Cattle Egrets have only recently arrived here. They usually are found in cattle and horse pastures attending those animals. The Great Egret is large and has the long yellow bill. The Snowy Egret is the small one with the yellow feet and black bill. The Cattle Egrets are also small but have a few small rust-colored patches of feathers on the head and chest and sides in the breeding season.
All of these egrets enjoy insects with the Snowy and Great Egret mostly liking aquatic animals, insects and the occasional small mouse, lizard or snake. I have never yet seen a Reddish Egret here in The Villages, but you never know. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A Great Egret Cools Off
The Snowy Egret
I spotted this Red-headed Woodpecker while hiking in the Ochlockonee River State Park near the St. Mark’s National Wildlife Sanctuary in Florida last week. I so enjoy seeing these beautiful woodpeckers! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Sholom Park in Ocala is such a very beautiful place! It is very serene. That is the purpose of this gorgeous park which is designed for strolling and reflection. It is not a sports or picnic type of place. It is open to the public and is mainly used by the folks from the adjacent On Top of The World development along with those from the Del Webb development. It is open during the day and is free of charge.
While my hubby and I were at the park on Monday, I spotted a male Northern Cardinal bird and a Red-shouldered Hawk. No sign of any owls or Great Blue Herons at all. No sign of the former Great Blue Heron rookery. I think over the past couple of years, stormy weather has taken its toll on the great trees where these wading birds and owls had previously nested. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the image. Enjoy!
I am dedicating this blog post in memory of my late friend Donna who passed away on Easter in California. She will greatly be missed.
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!
Here are the last of the photographs I took last week at the Sharon Wiechens Nature Preserve in The Villages, FL. I saw a Great Blue Heron; the bill and neck of an Anhinga bird peeking out of the murky canal water in front of the lake; a Coot; and a male Boat-tailed Grackle. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Boat-tailed Grackle (male)