This male Hooded Merganser duck was spotted on Sunday March 5, 2017, at the Wal-Mart pond on CR 466 in The Villages, Florida.
The Hooded Merganser was first seen lounging on the base of a large pond fountain. After a moment, the duck slid into the water and paddled off in search of a bite to eat. I did not see a female or hen with the merganser. I did see a few Mallard Ducks there as well as a Little Blue Heron and a single Common Moorhen.
Hooded Mergansers are gorgeous ducks. The males are rusty-brown, white and black in color. Male Hooded Mergansers have a large white hooded region on their heads that they raise when alert or to signal danger to the other ducks. These ducks dive for prey of fish, frogs, crayfish, tadpoles and small tender turtles.
I have been seeing the Hooded Mergansers with some Bufflehead Ducks, and Lesser Scaups around the community in the last couple of weeks. Pretty soon, these migratory ducks will head North. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Wood Ducks were spotted at Tuscawilla Park in Ocala, Florida on Tuesday, January 4, 2017. I had an errand in Ocala so we decided to check on what was going on wildlife-wise at Tuscawilla. Mostly ducks, cormorants, ibis, and a few Wood Storks. No pelicans or herons at all on that occasion.
The Wood Ducks are especially beautiful. Notice that one of the hens is very light in color. I may have photographed this leucastic hen two years ago there. The leucastic color is just a faded color on the feathers and is a rare condition, probably a genetic mutation.
Wood Ducks eat fish, crayfish, frogs, tender small turtles, and aquatic insects for the most part. Occasionally they will also eat grains and fruit. They nest up perhaps ten feet or more in trees where the ducklings glide out onto the ground as pretty-much new hatchlings. That always amazes me. The nests are usually in hollowed out spaces in trees or in specially made “Duck boxes” on posts on the immediate shore or in the water on poles.
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A Belted Kingfisher, White Pelicans, Sea Gulls, Muscovy Ducks, and Canada Geese were all spotted on Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL, on January 7, 2017. This little neighborhood lake has a few more inches of water in it since we got a good soaking rain yesterday and the night before last. I am so very glad! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Just some random photographs I took in December of the many Black-bellied Whistling Ducks on Lake Paradise, here in The Villages, FL. I am happy to report that we did get a little rain last night which will certainly be welcome as we have been in a drought.
Lake Paradise, a local park lake, is rapidly drying up and the views from Boone and Swartz Park are mostly of mud flat lake bottom now. The main part of our lake still has water but fewer birds (lots of fish have been eaten by pelicans, herons, egrets, ducks, cormorants and sea gulls). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photograph. Enjoy!
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy! A reminder – the Black-bellied Whistling Duck juveniles have the bluish bill and feet while the adult ducks have pink bills and feet. I snapped these pictures on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016 on Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL.
Killdeer at the Freedom Pointe Lakes
Killdeer, Great Blue Herons, a Little Blue Heron, and a number of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were all spotted on and in our little lakes here in The Villages, Florida, in the last several days. Additionally, there were Wood Storks, Anhingas, a few Hooded Merganser Ducks, Ring Necked Ducks, Mallards, Egyptian and Canada Geese, and Great Egrets. I think the Killdeer possibly was standing right on its nest in the picture above, but it may also just be some pebbles.
I enjoy going sound to different lakes to check out what kinds of birds are visiting. More and more (and different) birds are arriving during the Winter migration. Just yesterday, I saw an amazing fifty or so Great Egrets plus about twenty Wood Stork out on one of the small park lakes here. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
Black-bellied Whistling Duck at Swartz Park on Lake Paradise
Little Blue Heron (Boone Park on Paradise Lake)
Great Blue Heron at a Freedom Pointe area lake