A River Otter; two Wild Turkeys; a Bald Eagle; about twenty Limpkins; Sandhill Cranes; Little Blue Herons; Great Blue Herons; Anhingas; Turkey and Black Vultures; Double-crested Cormorants; a Black-crowned Night Heron; a Tri-Colored Heron; Snowy Egrets; Great Egrets; a Belted Kingfisher; Alligators; Turtles; Purple Gallinules; and Common Moorhens were all spotted during a two hour scenic boat cruise from the very beautiful Blue Springs State Park on the St. John’s River here in Florida yesterday morning.
The pontoon boat Captain drives slowly through backwater channels chock-full of wildlife! I enthusiastically recommend this cruise! Advance reservations are likely needed and tickets today cost $20.00 per adult plus a $6.00 per car state park day use admission fee.
Part 2 will be posted here on Monday. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Sandhill Crane on its nest
Great Blue Heron
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 pair of Sandhill Cranes was spotted last night about 6:30pm in the Hacienda neighborhood, across the street from a golf course, here in The Villages, FL. We have a year-around population of Sandhill Cranes which are native here in Florida.
Sandhill Cranes love browsing on tender grass on cool shady golf courses where there also usually is a pond for drinking water. These cranes will eat insects and worms as well as aquatic plants, small fish, frogs and small turtles.
The cranes here in The Villages don’t seem terribly concerned by people being around as this pair were actually standing on the front lawn of a residence across the street from the course (and across the street from Sandhill Crane statues in a front yard). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
This juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron was spotted on the North Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive near Apopka, FL on Saturday, September 1, 2018. I also saw an adult Black-crowned Night Heron perched on a very distant tree but my photograph was not good enough to add-in here. The juvenile was fairly close sitting on a sturdy tree limb just across a narrow canal from the roadway. This is the first juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron I have ever seen. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Little Blue Heron
Two Little Blue Herons and a gorgeous Tri-colored Heron were spotted on Sun. August 26, 2018, at one of the small arms of Lake Okahumpka in the Lake Okahumpka County Park near The Villages, Florida.
This county park is beautiful with fitness and hiking trails through the natural areas, a canoe and kayak launch, a Disc Golf course, picnic areas and pretty Florida scenery. Admission is free and there seems to be good parking. The lake is very marshy, by the way.
The best time to visit the park now, is probably in the morning as we often have afternoon thunderstorms in Summer months. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Little Blue Heron in the smaller arm of the lake (pond like area)
Little Blue Heron at the Canoe/Kayak Launch Ramp
One of the Scenic Park Views
Tri-colored Heron at the Smaller Arm of the Lake
Little Blue Heron and Try-colored Heron perched on the Gazebo Structure
Tri-colored Heron and Little Blue Heron at the Gazebo Structure
This beautiful Snowy Egret was spotted on the Chula Vista Executive Golf Course pond in The Villages, FL. The egret was wading in the small shallow pond to fish for its meal of small fish, frogs, crayfish or smaller turtles.
Snowy Egrets are small, all white birds with a black bill, black legs, and bright yellow feet. In breeding season which is late Winter and Spring, the birds have a glorious coat of long white plumage.
Most Snowy Egrets stay around the water until time to roost in a tall tree for the evening. They do not usually hunt in shrubbery like their larger cousins the Great Egrets do. Snowy Egrets are fairly shy and don’t like being around people very much. I usually see them by themselves or with one or two others but spread out on the shoreline. I always enjoy spotting these gorgeous birds! Like many wading birds, it is easiest to spot the egrets in the early morning or very late afternoon hours. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
These seven Egyptian Geese were spotted this afternoon at the lovely Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course driving range pond in The Villages, Florida, on the power-line side (multi-modal path area). This group is the largest gathering of Egyptian Geese I have seen here in three years. The ancestors of these geese are native to Africa that were brought to Florida a few years ago and turned loose.
I think that some of this group may be the goslings I photographed two years ago here at Freedom Pointe lake. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!