The Great Egrets here in Florida are the larger of the egrets. These are lovely white birds that have a golden yellow sharp large bill and black legs and feet. In the breeding season of late Winter, the Great Egrets develop long lacy feathers. The Great Egrets are wading birds that stroll in the shallows of ponds, lakes, marshes and rivers to find shellfish, fish, frogs, larger insects and turtles. These birds also will take to land and patrol the landscaped areas for mice, lizards and snakes to eat.
Great Egrets also are great at flying and sometimes will flock together to migrate. We do have a year around population here but have a considerable number of birds come for the Winter. Wishing all the ladies a very happy Mother’s Day on Sunday. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Cattle Egrets are the three types of egrets that are commonly seen here in Central Florida. The largest is the Great Egret. The smallest is the Snowy Egret with the Cattle Egret being the chunky middle-sized one of the three. There is a Reddish Egret that is rarely seen and I have only once gotten a photo of that egret. That Reddish Egret looks like a magenta version of the Little Blue Heron. The smaller herons are actually egrets so it is no wonder they all have similar characteristics.
The Great Egret is one that sometimes goes away from the water to forage in shrubbery for snakes and lizards, mice and larger insects to eat. The Cattle Egret likes to walk around pastures where horses or cattle are present. You also occasionally see Cattle Egrets at ponds and lakes where they will drink and occasionally hunt. The Snowy Egret has yellow legs and feet and a slender black bill and is mostly seen on the shore or in shallow water of ponds and lakes and marshes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets are commonly seen here in The Villages, Florida, on our many ponds and lakes and in the freshwater marsh prairies.
In addition to being on the shoreline of the ponds and lakes, the Great Egret often can be spotted meandering through the bushes and landscaped medians along the major streets. The Great Egret likes to hunt for lizards, snakes and mice along with its usual diet of fish and frogs.
The much smaller Snowy Egret is usually only seen wading along shoreline areas fishing for the same fish, frogs, small turtles and the larger aquatic insects. The Snowy Egret has mustard yellow feet, greenish black legs and a patch of mustard yellow on the top of the black bill. The Great Egret has the broader yellow bill and is a huge bird in comparison to the Snowy.
In Winter, these white birds can be seen in their majestic long flowing breeding plumage. These are very beautiful birds! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Snowy Egrets were at the little golf course pond behind the Mark Twain Library here in The Villages, FL yesterday afternoon. There were a bunch of Great Egrets, a Pied-billed Grebe, many Canada Geese, a flock of Mallard Ducks, a Tri-colored Heron, a Great Blue Heron, and many Double-crested Cormorants at the pond during the same period. I will share some of those birds in future posts here.
The Snowy Egrets are getting their Winter breeding plumage now. These birds are very showy in luxurious white feathers, a long black sharply pointed bill, greenish-yellow legs, a yellow spot just below their eyes, and the tell-tale mustard yellow-colored feet. The Snowy Egrets are truly beautiful smaller egrets! They live around water (mostly freshwater). These birds eat fish, tadpoles, aquatic snails, baby alligators, frogs, tender small turtles and crayfish. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A Great Egret in the Cypress Tree, a Tri-color Heron, an Anhinga, a juvenile White Ibis with a Little Blue Heron were all spotted at Freedom Pointe Lake and at the nearby Hacienda Golf Course pond here in The Villages, FL on a recent afternoon. All are interesting birds!
The egrets were up in the trees due to it being cloudy with a very good chance of thunderstorms to happen (it did rain about a half-hour later). These birds were very close to the multi-modal golf cart paths that skirt many ponds and lakes here. It affords me a good chance to spot birds up close. Handy for taking pictures! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Fenney Springs and the Fenney Neighborhood of The Villages, FL has a variety of wildlife! Sandhill Cranes, a Glossy Ibis, a Snowy Egret, a Great Egret, a tiny Palm Warbler, an Anhinga bird, several freshwater turtles, a Great Blue Heron, and several shorebirds were all recently spotted in the Fenney Springs area and Hammock Golf Course (Red Fox and Grey Fox courses) area ponds and springs. I have read the area also is occasionally home to River Otters and an Alligator or two.
The Nature Walk is a short walk along a boardwalk over the Fenney Springs itself. The walk has scenic views of the little creek and the bubbling springs ponds. I usually see several turtles and occasionally a wading bird and even a few songbirds.
The golf course is close to the Fenney Springs and the main highway entrance into the various new neighborhoods here in The Villages, FL. The shallow pond where I saw the Glossy Ibis, the egrets, and shorebirds is to the right side of the entrance road for the Hammock Red Fox and Grey Fox golf courses close to the parking lot for the courses. I think it is amazing that I saw all of these animals and birds in such a small area of a neighborhood all on the same afternoon! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
White Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants
Three White Pelicans; a couple of Double-crested Cormorants; an Egyptian Goose; a Boat-tailed Grackle; several hybrid Florida Mottled/Mallard Ducks; and a Great Egret were all spotted this afternoon at the driving range pond on the beautiful Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course here in The Villages, FL.
The trio of White Pelicans have made this pond home all year. It is pretty unusual here for the pelicans to miss migration back up North but this little group apparently missed the flock or something.
On a side note, the minute we pulled up in our golf cart on the pond-side multi-modal trail, the ducks and goose started coming toward us. Like the White Ibis bunch at Lake Mira-mar, the golf cart must mean “Food”! No, so sorry. I do not feed exotic birds or even the pond ducks and geese here. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Hybrid Mottled/Mallard Ducks
Male Boat-tailed Grackle
Pelicans and Cormorants
Cormorant with fish meal
Two Snowy and two Great Egrets were spotted at Paradise Lake and Lake Mira-mar in The Villages, FL this evening at twilight. It is always fun to watch the egrets fish or even just stand still on docks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Mottled Ducks, Egyptian Geese, a Tri-colored Heron, an Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, and Great Egret were all spotted a few days ago on Freedom Pointe Lake and Paradise Lake in The Villages, FL.
The Great Blue Heron, Egyptian Geese, and Anhinga were all sitting on what I call “Pelican Point”. That is the spot where a huge congregation of White Pelicans sits most of the Winter.
The Mottled Duck group was found on Lake Paradise near Boone Park, and the Trip-colored Heron was on the side pond next to Freedom Pointe Lake on Morse Blvd.
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. As ever, enjoy!
Little Blue Heron and Great Egret
A Little Blue Heron in its juvenile white phase, a Cattle Egret, a Snowy Egret, and a Great Egret are all egrets that to some degree are similar in looks. The juvenile Little Blue Heron is white with greenish-yellow legs and a pale bluish-grey bill with a dark tip.
The Cattle Egret is a smaller white-colored egret but is stocky in build and has a rust-colored streak and yellow bill. The Snowy Egret is also a small white egret, but it has black and yellow legs and feet with a mostly black bill.
The larger egret is the Great Egret which is white with black legs and a yellow bill. So here are the photographs which hopefully show these differences. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Juvenile Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Great Egret and Snowy Egret