A flock of Double-crested Cormorants; several Wood Storks; a flock of Canada Geese; several Egyptian Geese; a lot of Mottled Ducks; a few Great Egrets; a few Snowy Egrets; a few Mallard Ducks; and a small pod of White Pelicans. I also spotted a Southern Bald Eagle up on a nearby electrical tower. Today’s post is part one of two showcasing all these birds. I will show part 2 on Friday.
Our migratory Winter visitors, the true “Snow birds” are coming in droves daily here. I spotted all these birds on the driving range pond of the beautiful Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course here in The Villages, FL today. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Double-crested Cormorants and a Seagull
Water birds, wading birds and turtles were all spotted at Freedom Pointe and Paradise Lakes in The Villages, Florida this past weekend. I am happy that the weather was nice enough to permit a bird watching jaunt both on Friday at dusk and on Saturday afternoon.
The Double-crested Cormorant flock will be flying North in coming days. I was surprised that this flock did not follow the White Pelicans that left for their migration on Friday morning. The Great Egret, Snowy Egret, the Cooter Turtles, Canada Goose, Great Blue Heron, and what is probably a Try-colored Heron, are all resident birds here in The Villages, Florida. These birds are mostly meat eaters while the geese love seeds and grasses. I love getting out and about at the many small ponds and lakes and preserves here! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Double-crested Cormorant in the Live Oak Tree Roost
Great Blue Heron and Double-crested Cormorants
Double-crested Cormorant, Cooter Turtle and a Canada Goose
Great and Snowy Egrets
A flock of White Pelicans was spotted tonight at sunset at Freedom Pointe Lake in The Villages, Florida. This group of birds is about half of the number seen in this area a few weeks ago. Many of these migratory birds have already left for the Spring and Summer.
This spot on the lake is the favorite place for the White Pelicans and their friends, the Double-crested Cormorants to spend the evening to sleep (the cormorants head to the nearby Oak Trees to roost). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Double-crested Cormorants roosting in the Live Oak Tree
American White Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants were spotted at dusk at the lovely Freedom Pointe Lake and parking lot of the assisted living complex in The Villages, Florida on Friday, March 2, 2018. The gigantic old Live Oaks around the lake-front parking lot have been the roosting place for the migratory Double-crested Cormorants each Winter. The asphalt of the parking lot under the trees also tells the tale that yes, many birds have roosted there for months now! This spot is an annual location for the cormorants. By the way, due to the increasingly darker skies, I have lightened up the photographs so you can more easily see the cormorants in the trees.
An Eastern point of the shoreline of the lake is where most of the flock of White Pelicans also congregate to spend the evening resting on the ground. Sometimes though, the flock chooses the opposite point of the shore. Both are favorite spots to see these pelicans in the late afternoon or early evening during the Winter months. I sure enjoy bird watching at this lake! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of each picture. Enjoy!
American White Pelicans
Double Crested Cormorants are frequently here on our ponds and lakes in the winter months here in The Villages, Florida. These birds enjoy the warm weather quite a lot and around ponds, lakes, rivers, and both fresh and salt water marsh-lands. Some of these cormorants are natives here but many are migrants from places north of us. I also have spotted Double-Crested Cormorants at marina docks on the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico at Cedar Key here in Florida.
These water birds dive for fish, frogs, baby alligators, tender soft-shelled turtles and larger aquatic insects and aquatic mollusks. At times, Double-crested Cormorants are mixed in near the White Pelicans here. The Double-Crested Cormorants are similar in looks to the slightly smaller Anhinga birds. The Anhingas have a straight bill while there is a downward hook to the tip of the bill on the Double-Crested Cormorants. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Diving for a bit of food
White Pelicans at Freedom Pointe Lake
These American White Pelicans were spotted at Freedom Pointe Lake and the Torri Pines Golf Pond here in The Villages Florida a week ago. There are pelicans at several spots here this month. The White Pelicans love our warm winter weather and have come from the Mid-western U.S.A. to spend a few months each year.
Pelicans eat fish primarily but also will enjoy baby alligators, frogs, and smaller soft shell turtles. They fish by working cooperatively to encircle fish and then scoop them into their bill pouch. At times, the Double-crested Cormorants also work well with the pelicans to get their fish dinners. Most of the little lakes and ponds have plenty of food for the flocks of these big birds! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of each photo. Enjoy!
American White Pelicans at Torri Pines Golf Course Pond
American White Pelican in Flight at Freedom Pointe Lake
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!