Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Tri-Colored Heron
Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Wood Storks, Anhingas, and a Tri-Color Heron were spotted this past week at the Freedom Pointe Lake in The Villages, FL. This little lake borders a golf course, an assisted living complex, and a boulevard with golf cart multi-modal pathway. It is often busy with wading birds during the Fall through Spring months. I enjoy visiting this area as it is easy to see the birds from the path or the parking area. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Snowy Egret, Cormorant, Great Egret
Great Blue Heron
Cormorants are mostly seen in groups or even in large flocks while Anhinga birds are seen by themselves or a mate (occasionally in a small flock but spread-out). The Cormorants often travel with White Pelicans to hunt fish cooperatively.
The Cormorants have a chunky thick body and a slight hook to the end of their bill. Anhingas have a thinner body and have a thin sword-like bill. Female Anhingas have a light brown ruff of feathers on the underside of their neck. Both birds are diving birds and their appearance in the water when surfacing is snake-like. Both bird must spread their wings to dry them after diving. Both are great fliers and perch in water-front trees.
The Anhingas are considered to be tropical birds and are most often here in Florida or very near. The Cormorants can be found in many places throughout the United States.
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Anhinga birds and Double-crested Cormorants are very similar aquatic birds. The differences are the bill and body size with only faint differences about the feathers. The Anhingas are more slender and have a very straight slender sword-like bill. The female Anhinga is more brown in color with a light tan throat. These females are also nicknamed “Piano birds” for the pattern of their feathers.
The Double-crested Cormorants can be distinguished by the slightly hooked tip of their long also sword-like bill. The cormorants also are much heftier and blocky in body than the Anhingas. Both eat fish, frogs, and small turtles. Both are experts in flight as well as swimming. Both the Anhingas and Double-crested Cormorants are referred to as “Snake birds” as they come up from diving with only their long sinuous neck and their head peeking out of the water.
The Anhingas are here all year long but the cormorants mostly are migratory with the White Pelicans. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Most of the White Pelicans have started leaving for their homes up North now. I have only seen just a handful of the big white birds around here in the last week. We still have several groups of the cormorants but those too, will be off on their Spring migration very soon.
I took most of these pictures within the past month here on the ponds and small lakes at the Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course; Freedom Pointe Lakes; La Hacienda Golf Course pond; and Golf View Lake pond, and Lake Paradise. These are all places where year after year, I have spotted White Pelicans in Winter months.
The White Pelicans arrive in December and leave around the first two weeks of April here. We did have a few stick around all year long this past year here. That was unusual. Our ponds here have been fished heavily with all the pelicans, cormorants, fishing ducks and wading birds that have been here these last few months. It was wonderful to see the pelicans and I will eagerly await their return next Winter! Please click on the thumbnail images to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
The migratory White Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants are gathering together to get ready for the long journey back up North. These birds are feasting on fish and frogs to gain strength for the flight back home to their breeding grounds. I think quite a few of these birds have already left our area. Last year we only had about six pelicans stay over all-year long.
I spotted the pelicans and cormorants at the Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course driving range pond and also at Freedom Pointe Lake here in The Villages, FL. These are two spots where the pelicans and cormorants return to every year it seems. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Double-crested Cormorants are here for their Winter visit to The Villages, Florida. These birds are at home on and in the water, as well as roosting in the larger trees over-night. They are also excellent at flying from place to place. These water birds will be leaving our area in coming days and weeks to start migrating North. Cormorants often accompany White Pelicans or Great Egrets in their migration.
Cormorants eat fish, frogs, small turtles, baby alligators, and larger aquatic insects. The brown, rust. grey and black birds with orange bills, dive for their prey. The birds like Anhingas, spread their wings to dry them before flight.
Sometimes, the Double-crested Cormorants will assist the White Pelicans in hunting by circling the fish to gather them and then sharing the bounty. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
White Pelicans, a mob of Cormorants, seven Wood Storks, and a few Great Egrets were all at the little Golf View Lake near Paradise Park in The Villages, Florida on March 7, 2019 at dusk. I was thrilled to still be seeing the pelicans as they soon will flock-together for the long flight Northward.
Imagine being a home-owner on the pond’s shoreline and finding seven young Wood Storks sitting happily in your backyard near the water! I think most who own water-front homes, do expect this kind of unique short-term visitors. Ha! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version fo that photo. Enjoy!