A flock of Cattle Egrets were spotted on the grassy banks of the ponds at the Souliere Villas in The Villages, Florida a few days ago. This area has recently been developed and there are still several open fields there. The area is also pretty close to small horse farms, too. Cattle Egrets are usually found near horse or cattle pastures as they dine on insects attracted by the livestock.
These are medium-sized white-colored egrets that have a distinctive mustard yellow streak on their back near the neck and head. They also have a yellow bill. This flock was lounging and roosting among the scrubby low trees on the edge of the two man-made water retention ponds. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Cattle Egrets and a Juvenile White Ibis
Great Egrets, and Roseate Spoonbill
White Pelican, Double-crested Cormorants, Wood Stork, Ring Billed Gulls
Wading birds are often here in big flocks at times during the Winter months. Some flocks stay over the season but others are here a day to rest and eat and then off they go.
We have big flocks of Cattle Egrets; Glossy Ibis; Double-crested Cormorants; Ring-billed Gulls; White Ibis; Snowy and Great Egrets; and American White Pelicans. Sometimes we will have groups of Wood Storks and Sandhill Cranes but generally, these big birds are in small flocks of six to eight. Most of the Wood Storks branch out to separate ponds where only one to four are present. The Sandhill Cranes are most often seen in large grassy areas such as on the edges of golf courses.
It is so much fun to get out and do some bird watching! By the way, the big flock of White Pelicans has returned to the Freedom Pointe Lake here in The Villages. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.
American White Pelicans
Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, American White Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy
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!
Egrets are resident birds here in The Villages, FL area. We have a lot of small lakes and ponds and tiny creeks here with plenty of food for these birds. Of course, the Cattle Egrets come and go and are mainly seen near the few horse and cattle ranches we have in the overall community. We tend to have more Great Egrets here than Snowy or Cattle Egrets. All are meat or insect eating birds. There also are Reddish Egrets in the region but I have only spotted one here in The Villages and that was months ago.
The largest of these three kinds of egrets is the Great Egret which is perhaps three feet tall. The smallest of these egrets is the Snowy Egret, with the Cattle Egret in the mid-range. I took these pictures at various times this year here in The Villages, primarily on Lake Mira-mar, Lake Paradise, and Freedom Pointe Lake. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy! P.S. The community’s archery range will reopen today for the first time since Hurricane Irma damaged it a bit. Hooray!
Great Egret and Snowy Egrets
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.