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
A Cattle Egret in Breeding Colors
Cattle Egrets, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Anhingas, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, and other large wading birds have created a rookery or nesting area in a marshy preserve on Morse Ave. in The Villages, FL above CR 466. This area is along a popular golf cart multi-modal pathway and golf carts can easily stop there in the grassy area in front of the rail fence (not automobiles). I have photographed this area once before.
I was very surprised to see the large flock of hundreds of Cattle Egrets that have nested there in the front section of the preserve. The swampy area likely is protected by both the fence and the Alligators that may be present in the shallow marsh under the shrubbery. I took these pictures in the afternoon, on April 30, 2016. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Great Egret in Flight
Cattle Egrets in the Roost
Cattle Egret with Nesting Materials
Nesting Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret Nest
This flock of Cattle Egrets likely is the first huge flock I have seen in breeding plumage. There were about a hundred big birds resting on the banks of the larger pond next to the Walmart in The Villages on CR 441. I have often gone to this pond to check out the wildlife and take pictures there. It is amazing to see such a large number of egrets at once! By the way, there also were about three or four White Ibis mixed-in with that bunch enjoying the delightful pond.
I also spotted two Great Blue Herons, on American Alligator (a small one), several coots, a couple Double Crested Cormorants, a Great White Heron, and a few ducks. This is a busy wonderful pond! The only downside was the trash that blew into the pond area from the street and busy store parking lot. It has been very windy here. I took these pictures on Saturday afternoon, March 26, 2016, at lunch time. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger photo. Enjoy!
A Blue Wing Teal Duck, a pair of Mottled Ducks, several Cattle Egrets, a herd of Cattle, and a pair of Sand Hill Cranes were all spotted at or close to the horse farm or ranch pond in Northwestern Marion County, FL, where I have often spotted wildlife in the past. The Cattle are now grazing in the pasture where the larger pond is located at.
I was surprised about the Cattle and the Teal Duck as both were newly seen there. I took the pictures of the cranes at another much smaller pond on that same ranch but just down the road about an eighth mile. I took the pictures on Jan. 5, 2015 from the side of the road. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photo. Enjoy!
Here are more pictures of the Cattle Egrets that I took here in the development during this past Spring. I hope you will enjoy seeing these pictures that never made it to my earlier post. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.
These really are called Cattle Egrets. I thought I would show these smaller of the egrets with both gorgeous horses and the more familiar cattle. I snapped these pictures from the fences of both a horse farm and a cattle ranch. Both the horse farm and that cattle ranch are in an area Northwest of Ocala, in Marion County, Florida.
I was amused at seeing Cattle Egrets paying attention to the horses. The egrets flew along as the horses ran around their very large pasture. These egrets eat grains and insects so following along with these large animals makes it possible for them to find an easy meal. As far as I could see, the larger animals did not seem to mind. No, the egrets are not parasitical, but they do take advantage of what is a natural situation. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
American White Ibises, Snowy Egrets, a Great Egret, and a Cattle Egret were all wonderful visitors to one of the rainfall ponds here in the development where I live. This particular pond is between the golf course and a busy street. I see wading birds there on occasion, especially after it has been raining a lot.
We have had rains almost every day for the last couple of weeks so there is enough water in this pond to attract these large birds. The Snowy Egrets were pretty flighty while the Ibises just wanted to eat in peace. The sole Cattle Egret watched the action from the far end of the very shallow pond. This pond often does go completely dry. I took these pictures yesterday afternoon (7/15/14). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!