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Posts tagged ‘birding’

Wordless Wednesday

Here are some shots of the Double Crested Cormorants.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

Wordless Wed. – White Ibises

Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of these photos I took yesterday in my yard,  Enjoy!

 

 

A Drake Hooded Merganser

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This male Hooded Merganser duck was spotted on Sunday March 5, 2017, at the Wal-Mart pond on CR 466 in The Villages, Florida.

The Hooded Merganser was first seen lounging on the base of a large pond fountain.  After a moment, the duck slid into the water and paddled off in search of a bite to eat.  I did not see a female or hen with the merganser.  I did see a few Mallard Ducks there as well as a Little Blue Heron and a single Common Moorhen.

Hooded Mergansers are gorgeous ducks.  The males are rusty-brown, white and black in color.   Male Hooded Mergansers have a large white hooded region on their heads that they raise when alert or to signal danger to the other ducks.  These ducks dive for prey of fish, frogs, crayfish, tadpoles and small tender turtles.

I have been seeing the Hooded Mergansers with some Bufflehead Ducks, and Lesser Scaups around the community in the last couple of weeks.  Pretty soon, these migratory ducks will head North.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.  Enjoy!

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Waterfowl Wednesday: Northern Shovelers

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These Northern Shoveler Ducks were gathered together in a tight circle at a little pond near the Polo Ridge neighborhood of The Villages, Florida on Feb. 18, 2017.  The ducks were hunting for food.  They circle together ’round and ’round creating a whirlpool in the pond which traps their food and they also dip their big bills into the water to catch their food and filter it with their bill.   The Shovelers eat aquatic plants, and aquatic snails, small aquatic insects and small aquatic animals such as frogs, tadpoles and tiny fish.  Mostly they are plant eating ducks.  The Northern Shoveler is a “Dabbling duck”.

The Northern Shoveler drakes here were mostly tried-colored (blueish-black, white and rusty brown) and the hens were brown and black (the hens resemble Black Duck or Mallard hens).  The main distinctive feature about these ducks is their bill.  The Northern Shoveler’s bill is huge and flared at the tip – it does look like a shovel!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

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The Great Egrets

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Great Egrets are here on our lakes all year around.  I enjoy them very much. The Great Egrets are the taller of the egrets here.  We basically have Snowy Egrets, Cattle Egrets and the Great Egrets.  On rare occasions, we will spot a Reddish Egret but they are quite unusual here.

The Great Egrets wade in shallow water and hunt for fish, turtles, frogs, tadpoles, larger insects, small shore-side snakes and mice.  They spear their prey with their strong pointed bill.  The Great Egret is white with a yellow bill and black legs and feet.  They have yellow eyes.  They are exquisite when in their billowy breeding plumage!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

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Wood Storks

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This group of Wood Storks was here in December but several are still around the area.  The Wood Storks are genuinely odd-looking sweet big birds!  I love seeing them here.

Wood Storks roost in trees but wade in shallow water to hunt for crustaceans, aquatic snails, larger aquatic insects, small fish, shore-side large land insects, and worms.  The Wood Storks also eat grains and plants on occasion.

Mostly the Wood Storks just stand around.  That seems to really be the case.  Wood Storks are very passive calmer birds and that helps make them easy to photograph.  I sometimes wonder what they are thinking and doing?  Fascinating birds.  By the way, the younger birds have lighter-colored pink feet (Wood Storks of all ages do have pink feet) and lighter-colored bills.  I have read that Wood Storks may fly some fifty miles from their own roost area to find enough food.  That seems amazing!  They sure are good at flying!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

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Sandhill Cranes Part 1 of 2

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Sandhill Cranes arrived at the little neighborhood Paradise Lake here on Saturday night (12/14/17) at twilight.  First I spotted two of the big birds and then the rest of the flock flew in.  It was quite the sight!  The lake is very low again so I think the Sandhill Cranes like the mudflat sandbars in the middle of the lake.  I spotted twenty-one cranes at Swartz Park!

I believe this flock of Sandhill Cranes are migrating from up North.  I think that we do have a few here that are native to Florida as well that may be among the bunch.  One of the Sandhill Cranes is either a leucastic genetic mutation bird, or is a hybrid between the Whooping Crane and Sandhill Crane.  That individual is a lot lighter in color than the other twenty cranes.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.  Enjoy!

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