I am seeing a lot more Wood Storks right now here in The Villages, Florida. They prefer wading in marshy areas like the edges of ponds lakes. Wood Storks are aquatic meat-eating (small fish are preferred) birds and rarely will dine on seeds.
Wood Storks are terrific flyers and roost in tall trees in colonies. These birds generally live about 11-13 years. The juveniles are the ones with the bony plated head with light brown fuzzy feathering and light-colored big bills. Wood Storks remain a threatened species here in the USA.
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Wood Storks occasionally visit The Villages, FL but usually we see maybe six or seven in one spot. This morning I saw sixty Wood Storks, many of them juveniles, at the El Santiago Golf Course pond on the El Camino Avenue end near the multi-modal path.
I think that due to the recent tropical storm to the NW of us on the coast, this flock has migrated. We are fortunate to have seen the whole group together. By the way, the juveniles have the fuzzy head and nearly ivory-white bills. Wood storks begin to have a large ivory-white bony plate on their head (no feathers or fuzz) and have a darker bill as they age.
I also saw an adult Wood Stork trying to eat a very large catfish that it caught in its huge bill. The effort did briefly attract the attention of a Great Blue Heron, but the heron got the message that it would not be able to steal the fish away! The flock was at the pond in four separate groupings so I tried to represent some of each group with these pictures. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of each photo. Enjoy!
This Wood Stork was hunting for dinner at the small pond at Freedom Pointe in The Villages, Florida when I photographed the exotic bird on Saturday, July 20, 2019 in the later afternoon. The Wood Storks have seldom been around the community in recent months. Some are beginning to come our way as the weather changes.
Wood Storks hunt by wading in very shallow water and scooping small fish, aquatic worms, aquatic snails, frogs, small alligators, aquatic insects, and small crayfish. They use their very hard scoop-like bill and filter out unwanted objects and water and then they swallow. These birds have been on the endangered species list until recently and I believe they are now considered as a threatened species. I love seeing them here! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly smaller version of the picture. Enjoy!
Adult White Ibis
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Adult White Ibis
Juvenile and Adult White Ibis
Anhinga birds and Double-crested Cormorants are very similar aquatic birds. The differences are the bill and body size with only faint differences about the feathers. The Anhingas are more slender and have a very straight slender sword-like bill. The female Anhinga is more brown in color with a light tan throat. These females are also nicknamed “Piano birds” for the pattern of their feathers.
The Double-crested Cormorants can be distinguished by the slightly hooked tip of their long also sword-like bill. The cormorants also are much heftier and blocky in body than the Anhingas. Both eat fish, frogs, and small turtles. Both are experts in flight as well as swimming. Both the Anhingas and Double-crested Cormorants are referred to as “Snake birds” as they come up from diving with only their long sinuous neck and their head peeking out of the water.
The Anhingas are here all year long but the cormorants mostly are migratory with the White Pelicans. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Please click on the thumbnail images to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Juvenile Little Blue Heron
Adult Little Blue Heron
Ring-necked Ducks, a Little Blue Heron, a beautiful Purple Gallinule, a few Common Moorhens, several Pied-billed Grebes, an Anhinga, and a Common Coot were spotted at the lovely gem of a nature preserve, the Sharon Rose Wiechens Nature Preserve here in The Villages, Florida on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018.
I often see the Common Moorhens and in season coots at this preserve. Less commonly seen are the Ring-Necked Ducks (all hens), the grebes, and the Little Blue Heron. I also frequently see Osprey in the area as the lake is a medium-sized one with lots of wildlife and fish. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that particular photo. Enjoy!
Hen Ring-necked Ducks
Hen Ring-necked Ducks
Little Blue Heron