Blue-winged Teal Ducks
(The drake has the half moon white marking on his cheeks)
Blue-winged Teal Ducks, Great Blue Herons, Coots, Snowy Egrets, and a Limpkin were all spotted at the North Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive on the shore of Lake Apopka in Apopka, Florida on March 3, 2019.
This wildlife drive is along levees and a one-way dirt road past the fresh water marshes, lake shore, and canals of the former farm land along the huge lake. The drive is open Fridays through Sundays and is free of charge. This whole area is chock-full of wildlife with wading birds and alligators being the starring attractions! I highly recommend visiting this area if in Central Florida (about 30 miles from Orlando). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A flock of Common Coots
Great Blue Heron
Southern Bald Eagle
Common Moorhens, a lovely Purple Gallinule, and a few male Boat-tailed Grackles (in blue-black feather finery) were spotted at the Sharon Rose Wiechens Nature Preserve in The Villages, FL, last Tuesday. I also saw a smallish alligator and a couple of Anhingas in the distance. Up on the high tension electrical tower, I spotted a Southern Bald Eagle. I also saw a mockingbird on the wooden observation tower railing. I have occasionally seen eagles on that tower in past years. Our Winter birds are beginning to arrive here and it is very exciting to see many more birds around the community! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Male Boat-tailed Grackle
Hen Common Moorhen
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!
Little Blue Heron
Herons, egrets, alligators and more were spotted in Lake Apopka along The North Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. The drive is an absolutely wonderful bird watching spot here in Central Florida! We visited it on Sept. 1, 2018 in the afternoon.
The North Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is about eleven miles long on a one-way narrow dirt road that is sometimes on the top of a levy. The wildlife is abundant! I can only imagine what variety of birds will be there later on in the Winter months when so many birds migrate here to Florida.
I took over 100 photographs on the slow drive around the marsh. This drive is free of charge and is fairly close to Orlando and The Villages. It is near Apopka, FL. I highly recommend visiting if you are in the area. I will be sharing more photographs from my visit for this week’s blog posts. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Great Blue Heron
White-phase Juvenile Little Blue Heron
View from the road with Little Blue Heron flying past in the distance
Hen Common Moorhen
An Anhinga drying its wings
Two smallish Alligators, two Anhinga birds, a beautiful blue Dragonfly, a Common Moorhen, and a lone Great Egret were the reptiles, birds, and insect I spotted at the Sharon Rose Wiechens Nature Preserve here in The Villages, FL, last evening around 6:30pm.
One of the Alligators was perhaps six feet long which was the one seen swimming in deeper water in the lake. The other Alligator was probably around four to five feet in size and was sitting right under the edge of the raised boardwalk (people were very safe from the ‘Gator).
I always enjoy visiting this preserve and no two visits are alike. Always different critters and yes, many more aquatic plants in the lake near the shore now, as compared to even a year ago! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Great Egret in the Distance
Close-up of the smaller Alligator’s head
A Mother Common Moorhen and Chicks
A Least Bittern, several Red-winged Blackbirds, and a tender family of Common Moorhens were all spotted at the very lovely Sharon Rose Weichens Nature Preserve here in The Villages, FL on Saturday, May 12, 2018.
The Least Bittern was hunting immediately to the side and below the boardwalk observation deck so it was very hard to get good photographs of it but I did my best. We were trying hard not to disturb the bird and there were several people in the area watching the same bird.
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Male Red-winged Blackbird
A Pied-billed Grebe
The Sharon Wiechens Nature Preserve in The Villages is a community treasure of a place! I really enjoy visiting this lake-side preserve here. I made a short trip there yesterday afternoon and saw quite a few different birds. I spotted two Southern Bald Eagles; a Pied Billed Grebe; a flying hen Mallard Duck; a Great Egret; a Glossy Ibis; a nesting Moorhen; and a few Boat-tailed Grackles.
I also saw a few Common Coots there at the preserve. Usually I spot something different when we visit each time. There is a fantastic boardwalk deck overlook which loops around into the lake itself over the shallow marsh. I also occasionally go up onto the wooden observation deck structure for a quick look around. I did not see any Sherman’s Fox Squirrels this trip. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A Great Egret
Male Boat-tailed Grackles
A Glossy Ibis
Southern Bald Eagles (From a distance)
A Hen Mallard
Common Moorhen on its Nest
This Common Moorhen, a member of the Rail family of birds and a cousin to its almost look-alike, the Coot, was spotted at the Wal-Mart pond on CR-466, in The Villages, Florida last week.
Common Moorhens live happily in ponds, on the shorelines of lakes, and also in marshes. Occasionally they are also on rivers. These duck-like birds eat plants. They are attractive and harmless. The hens (I did not see any that day) are a brown color but similar in looks to the drakes, which are charcoal dark grey and white with a red patch above their bill or beak. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A Little Blue Heron, a few Common Moorhens, and a little Pied-billed Grebe were spotted at the pond next to the Wal-Mart parking lot on CR 466 around the Buffalo Ridge area in The Villages, Florida last week.
The Little Blue Heron starts out as a white bird and gets darker with age until it is a lovely purplish-blue. The Little Blue Heron also has greenish-yellow legs and feet. It is a beautiful big wading bird. The Little Blue Heron eats fish, frogs, turtles, crayfish, aquatic worms, aquatic snails, and sometimes, shore-based insects and mice. The heron roosts in tall trees, and prefers Cypress Trees when possible. please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. My thoughts and prayers are with those people in Northern California who are affected by flooding, or the precautionary evacuations for the Oroville Dam difficulties.
Little Blue Heron
A Pied-billed Grebe and several Common Moorhens were spotted a few days ago at the lovely Sharon Weichens Preserve in The Villages on Lake Deaton. The Pied-billed Grebe is a small duck-like water bird that dives for fish, frogs, tadpoles, small turtles and larger aquatic insects. The little grebe is shy and pretty wary of people, preferring to dive in the middle of freshwater bodies of water such as ponds and lakes. This grebe has a tan-colored medium-sized bill that has a black wavy stripe along the middle of it.
I enjoy seeing the Common Moorhens here in The Villages. They are similar to Common Coots but instead of having a white fleshy area over their bill, they have a bright red area. The hens are a grayish-brown and the drakes are charcoal grey to black sometimes with a slight purple hue. They are quite similar to Purple Gallinules which are their cousins. These birds eat aquatic plants, and grasses. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
The Pied-billed Grebe
An Observation Deck at the Preserve
Male Common Moorhen
Hen Common Moorhen
Common Moorhen in Flight
Lake Deaton Scenery Viewed from the Preserve