The Winter migration is underway and more and more birds are arriving here in recent days. This will continue through December or early January. I have been seeing small flocks in the skies and on the shorelines of local lakes. I also have included a photograph of some smaller freshwater turtles that happened to be sunning themselves on the shore of a local golf course pond. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Adult White Ibis
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Mottled Ducks and Whistling Ducks were seen at a couple of ponds here in The Villages last week and also a couple of weeks ago. These ducks live at our ponds here all year around and are wild ducks. They eat pond insects, small tadpoles, tiny fish, grains and seeds.
The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are the one with the gorgeous pink bill and feet. The Florida Mottled Ducks resemble their cousins the Mallard Ducks and the Black Ducks. In fact, there are many hybrid Mallard Mottles here. Florida tries to keep the population of wild Mallard Ducks very low to help prevent inter-breeding. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
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