This flock of Sandhill Cranes has been frequenting the shrinking Paradise Lake in The Villages, Florida for a couple of weeks now, mostly at dusk. I have photographed these birds a few times now. The cranes are becoming lively and showing courtship ritual behaviors such as jumping up and dow with spread wings and vocalizing a little.
The lake is ultra-low now due to our on-going drought conditions. There is still a lot of food for the large birds in and on the lake. The grasses, seeds, frogs, tadpoles, crayfish, and aquatic weeds are all food for these beautiful big birds. I think we will be seeing and hearing the “Colts”, which are the baby Sandhill Cranes in several weeks! I can’t wait. I took these pictures last night at about 6:30pm. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
These Sandhill Cranes were spotted in The Villages, FL on April 3, 2017 and also yesterday. I saw the big birds at both the Live Oak Park area near the pond North of the park on the East side, and also at Paradise Park. Both groups of the cranes were seen in the very early evening hours.
The flock at Paradise Park was quite near Swartz Park. This lake has two smaller parks and the large Paradise Park. The lake is ringed on three sides with homes and on the other side with the big park. The birds were there in search of their evening meal and probably to engage in courtship rituals. I saw a lot of jumping and flapping of wings. I am still getting to know my new-to-me camera which has a lot of adjustments I am not yet familiar with. I apparently had mis-set my speed and so most of the pictures of the Sandhill Cranes from Paradise Park were pretty blurry. Sad but true. I like the camera which is a hand-me-down from my husband. Much lighter to carry than the big 500mm zoom and older camera. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Sandhill Cranes arrived at the little neighborhood Paradise Lake here on Saturday night (12/14/17) at twilight. First I spotted two of the big birds and then the rest of the flock flew in. It was quite the sight! The lake is very low again so I think the Sandhill Cranes like the mudflat sandbars in the middle of the lake. I spotted twenty-one cranes at Swartz Park!
I believe this flock of Sandhill Cranes are migrating from up North. I think that we do have a few here that are native to Florida as well that may be among the bunch. One of the Sandhill Cranes is either a leucastic genetic mutation bird, or is a hybrid between the Whooping Crane and Sandhill Crane. That individual is a lot lighter in color than the other twenty cranes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Six Sandhill Cranes were spotted on the shores of our little neighborhood park lake, Paradise Lake, on Sunday, December 11, 2016. Two were near Swartz Park and four were on the far shore across from Paradise Park.
I think I witnessed a courtship dance but that is uncertain. All of the sudden two of the four cranes started flapping their wings, bowing down a little and then each hopped several times. I think it was hubba-hubba I am great or maybe aggression? Who knows? I have never seen this behavior in person. These are likely not resident Florida cranes. I believe these are Winter visitors and may be on the way further South. Again, who can tell? Perhaps these beautiful big birds will remain in The Villages for the Winter season. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version. By the way, in one picture, there is a Great Blue Heron standing very close to a Sandhill Crane. The crane is the one with the red marking on its forehead. Enjoy!
This family of Sandhill Cranes is one I have photographed several times. The trio lives along the shore of a little park lake here in my community. I really enjoy seeing the three. The baby is getting really big! The poor juvenile does have that deformed foot which although hard to live with, seems manageable. I have often seen the bird stand on one foot. Wading birds, geese and ducks do stand on one foot at times to rest.
I photographed the cranes last night at about 8:00PM as the Sun was setting. The group is most often seen in the early morning or very late afternoon. I was at Boone Park when I took these pictures. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photograph. Enjoy!
Sandhill Cranes have made their home in The Villages, FL at several locations. They enjoy eating tender grasses so the big birds may be found around some of the golf courses and parks. They also spend time near ponds and lakes for the water source. They do not like wooded or tremendously marshy land except to travel through or to get a drink of water. They prefer cleared land. They also eat grains.
This pair of Sandhill Cranes are native here in Florida and have not migrated. That is how one tells the natives from the migratory cranes from the Midwestern areas of the United States. Basically, both types of Sandhill Cranes are nearly the same. I am always thrilled to see the Sandhill Cranes here! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly smaller version of the photo. Enjoy! Wishing all Moms a Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday!