Great Egret and Cormorants
Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Tri-colored Herons, Canada Geese, and Double-crested Cormorants, are here this Winter at many of our ponds and lakes in The Villages, FL. Most of these birds are now in the beginning of their breeding season and the egrets will be developing long billowing plumage with which to attract their potential mate.
Egrets hunt by wading in shallow water to spear a small fish or frog with their sharp bill. They also will occasionally root in the mud for aquatic worms and snails. On land, the Great Egret sometimes hunts for mice, lizards and snakes in the landscaping around yards and parking lots. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Great Egret & Canada Geese
Snowy Egret, Tri-colored Heron
I am seeing a lot more Wood Storks right now here in The Villages, Florida. They prefer wading in marshy areas like the edges of ponds lakes. Wood Storks are aquatic meat-eating (small fish are preferred) birds and rarely will dine on seeds.
Wood Storks are terrific flyers and roost in tall trees in colonies. These birds generally live about 11-13 years. The juveniles are the ones with the bony plated head with light brown fuzzy feathering and light-colored big bills. Wood Storks remain a threatened species here in the USA.
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Please click on the thumbnail image. Enjoy!
Great Blue Heron
Limpkins are exotic wading birds that eat Apple Snails for the most part. They have a very loud shriek so identifying these birds from their call is easy. They do sometimes get confused for the similar Least Bittern, and Rails. Limpkins are rarely seen in The Villages where I live, but I sure saw quite a few on the St. John’s River near the Blue Springs State Park here in Florida on 2/14/19 during a river boat cruise from the state park.
I spotted a small flock of Limpkins mingling with a flock of White Ibis on the banks of the river in addition to many other Limpkins along the route, including a hen with chicks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture! Enjoy!
A River Otter; two Wild Turkeys; a Bald Eagle; about twenty Limpkins; Sandhill Cranes; Little Blue Herons; Great Blue Herons; Anhingas; Turkey and Black Vultures; Double-crested Cormorants; a Black-crowned Night Heron; a Tri-Colored Heron; Snowy Egrets; Great Egrets; a Belted Kingfisher; Alligators; Turtles; Purple Gallinules; and Common Moorhens were all spotted during a two hour scenic boat cruise from the very beautiful Blue Springs State Park on the St. John’s River here in Florida yesterday morning.
The pontoon boat Captain drives slowly through backwater channels chock-full of wildlife! I enthusiastically recommend this cruise! Advance reservations are likely needed and tickets today cost $20.00 per adult plus a $6.00 per car state park day use admission fee.
Part 2 will be posted here on Monday. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Sandhill Crane on its nest
Great Blue Heron
White Pelicans have been spotted in more places here in The Villages, Florida. I spotted about twenty White Pelicans at the Freedom Pointe Lake on El Camino Real, where the flocks often come in Winter months (I call it Pelican Pointe and Cormorant Corner). I also have seen a few at the Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course driving range pond.
The White Pelicans have flown from the Midwestern states and are hungry. White Pelicans primarily dine on fish and frogs with occasional small tender turtles. Often the other water birds such as Double-crested Cormorants or even Anhingas will help with the fishing by encircling the school of fish to be gulped by the pelicans with enough for all. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
Wood Storks, White Ibis, Snowy Egrets, and a Common Moorhen were spotted at the Glenview Country Club’s front decorative ponds on Morse Blvd. near El Camino Real, here in The Villages, Florida several days ago.
This pond is a small one and is frequented usually by ducks. People walk their dogs along the shoreline and often will give the birds a hand-out or two. At times, other water birds join the fun. I believe there also are aquatic snails, aquatic insects, small fish, small frogs and occasionally, small turtles in the twin ponds there. There also is plenty of shade as the trees line one side of the pond. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!