Egrets abound here in The Villages and in Central Florida around ponds, lakes, streams and marshlands. Great Egrets sometimes do hunt in landscaped areas near homes and businesses as they will eat snakes mice and lizards if hungry. We mostly have Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and Cattle Egrets here in Central Florida. I have included a photo of a white-phase Little Blue Heron which is very similar to the Snowy Egret.
The Cattle Egret is primarily found near cattle or horse pasture lands but also sometimes can be found near lakes and ponds where it drinks and sometimes hunts along the shore.
I have only seen one Reddish Egret here and that was near Dunellon about four years ago. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly smaller version of the photo. Enjoy!
White phase Little Blue Heron
Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Cattle Egrets are the three types of egrets that are commonly seen here in Central Florida. The largest is the Great Egret. The smallest is the Snowy Egret with the Cattle Egret being the chunky middle-sized one of the three. There is a Reddish Egret that is rarely seen and I have only once gotten a photo of that egret. That Reddish Egret looks like a magenta version of the Little Blue Heron. The smaller herons are actually egrets so it is no wonder they all have similar characteristics.
The Great Egret is one that sometimes goes away from the water to forage in shrubbery for snakes and lizards, mice and larger insects to eat. The Cattle Egret likes to walk around pastures where horses or cattle are present. You also occasionally see Cattle Egrets at ponds and lakes where they will drink and occasionally hunt. The Snowy Egret has yellow legs and feet and a slender black bill and is mostly seen on the shore or in shallow water of ponds and lakes and marshes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Little Blue Heron and Great Egret
A Little Blue Heron in its juvenile white phase, a Cattle Egret, a Snowy Egret, and a Great Egret are all egrets that to some degree are similar in looks. The juvenile Little Blue Heron is white with greenish-yellow legs and a pale bluish-grey bill with a dark tip.
The Cattle Egret is a smaller white-colored egret but is stocky in build and has a rust-colored streak and yellow bill. The Snowy Egret is also a small white egret, but it has black and yellow legs and feet with a mostly black bill.
The larger egret is the Great Egret which is white with black legs and a yellow bill. So here are the photographs which hopefully show these differences. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Juvenile Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Great Egret and Snowy Egret
Yes, I kept a safe and appropriate distance from these birds and animals (Burros were photographed last Summer in Custer State Park, South Dakota). 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.
White Pelicans on Lake Paradise this past Spring
The Wood Storks, Great Egrets, White Ibis, Cattle Egrets, White Pelicans, and Snowy Egrets are all large white-colored wading birds/water birds . I did not add in the various white geese, swans, or ducks because I seldom see these birds here in The Villages, FL.
By the way, I saw three very placid Wood Storks on the parking lot next to Lake Mira-mar last night at dinner time. Unusual to see more than two at a time but yes, that area is a hot spot for big bird hand-outs (not good for people to feed these exotic birds). We continue to have intermittent rain showers and thunderstorms here so I have not been out to bird watch with the camera in a few days. Hope to be out and about soon! I will post what new pictures I do take in coming days. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
White Ibis at the Shoreline of Freedom Pointe Lake
Great Egret at Paradise Lake
Cattle Egret at Freedom Pointe Pond Meadow
Snowy Egret at El Lago Santiago
Wood Stork in Flight at Lake Paradise
Great Egrets and Sandhill Crane on Lake Paradise this last Spring
A Common Cormorant, several Cooter Turtles, a Little Blue Heron, many Cattle Egrets, Cattle, and the Good Year Blimp were all spotted on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at the Northwest Marion County horse farm/cattle pasture pond that I often go to for wildlife observation. I take my pictures from the roadway so I am especially glad to have the long zoom lens.
That blimp was the big surprise of the afternoon, along with the gorgeous Little Blue Heron! Please click on the thumbnail images to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!