Hooded Merganser ducks
Hooded Mergansers, and Double-crested Cormorants were spotted at the pond in the Silverlake Community Center’s small park area here in The Villages, FL this past week. I also spotted a small flock of Lesser Scaup ducks at the nearby Lake Paradise right at Paradise Park in The Villages.
I just am wowed by the huge variety of water birds we have here in The Villages during the winter months! This bunch of scaups have become used to people and behave like typical park ducks begging for, and receiving hand-outs (please do not feed bread to ducks as it is not the healthiest for them). Someone was flinging bread cubes to the seagulls and the ducks rushed over to get in on that action.
Most wild ducks are very wary of people so this behavior of coming near the shore when people are around is unusual in migratory birds. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Drake (male) Lesser Scaup
A pair of Lesser Scaup ducks
Please click on each thumbnail picture of the Double-crested Cormorants (and a pair of Hooded Mergansers in the background) to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
White Pelicans are Winter visitors here in The Villages, Florida. We love seeing the large flocks that appear around the beginning of December and stay through February and sometimes, March. We have a lot of small lakes brimming with fish, frogs, small turtles, baby alligators and larger aquatic insects for the big birds to dine on.
The pelicans are accompanied by Double Crested Cormorants which dive and herd the fish to help both species catch their meals.
I also noted a number of beautiful Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets both in their breeding plumage, were with the pelicans and cormorants. All these birds were sunning themselves on the shoreline of the lovely El Santiago golf course pond (on Enrique Dr.) yesterday morning. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Here are some shots of the Double Crested Cormorants. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Double Crested Cormorants are local resident birds but there also are quite a few flocks of migrating birds here in this area during the Winter months.
Double Crested Cormorants are meat-eating birds. They dive and catch fish, frogs, turtles and baby alligators. They often are spotted with flocks of White Pelicans or among Great and Snowy Egrets. They spread their wings to dry them after coming out of the water.
These birds closely resemble the Anhinga but they are larger bodied and have a broader bill that has a slight downward hook on the end. I took these pictures last week here in The Villages at a pond in the Polo Ridge neighborhood and also at the small lakes at Freedom Pointe. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
A Great Egret ,White Ibis, and Double Crested Cormorants, and a Turkey Vulture, were spotted a few days ago. The Ibis are numerous here in Florida and love being around the water. The White Ibis eat aquatic snails, aquatic worms, land worm, and assorted insects. The White Ibis also will eat aquatic plants and some grains.
The Double Crested Cormorants are meat-eating birds that are water birds. They love to follow White Pelicans and also the herons and egrets in search of food. These birds dive into the water for fish or frogs. The Double Crested Cormorants look quite similar to the Anhinga birds but the cormorants are a bit blockier and also have the hook on the end of their bill. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Double Crested Cormorants
Tuscawilla Park in Ocala, Florida has two medium-sized ponds that have a variety of water birds, and wading birds in and around them. I was there at Tuscawilla Park on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 in the afternoon for about five minutes. No, I did not see hundreds of birds as I have in past visits during the Winter months. Many birds have gone elsewhere on their migratory journey.
I did see several Great Egrets, a couple of Wood Storks, Snowy Egrets, a lot of White Ibis, a lot of Common Cormorants, a few Wood Ducks, a few Muscovy Ducks and a Great Blue Heron. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Great Egret, Snowy Egrets, and Double Crested Cormorants
Juvenile White Ibis
Adult White Ibis