A Blue Wing Teal Duck, a pair of Mottled Ducks, several Cattle Egrets, a herd of Cattle, and a pair of Sand Hill Cranes were all spotted at or close to the horse farm or ranch pond in Northwestern Marion County, FL, where I have often spotted wildlife in the past. The Cattle are now grazing in the pasture where the larger pond is located at.
I was surprised about the Cattle and the Teal Duck as both were newly seen there. I took the pictures of the cranes at another much smaller pond on that same ranch but just down the road about an eighth mile. I took the pictures on Jan. 5, 2015 from the side of the road. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photo. Enjoy!
This pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are the first “Whistlers” I have ever seen in person. I have been virtually observing the antics of Whistlers via my blog friend Tex’s blog, “The Run Around Ranch Blog”, and have always wanted to see these comical, lovely, smart wild ducks myself. I had read that Whistling Ducks do live in Florida but I had never spotted any in the past year that I’ve lived here. My luck changed on Saturday, July 19, 2014 when I saw this cute pair. These ducks were paddling on a small pond in a pasture at a local race horse farm. I saw three of the Whistlers last evening on this same pond (23 July 2014), shown first row below.
Whistling Ducks have upright posture, are a Cinnamon brown color and have a pink bill, pink legs, pink feet, with white and black wings. They have a black belly and a faint black stripe down the back of their head. Their calls are whistling sounds, which probably are similar to but a little stronger whistle sound, than Wood Ducks. I took these pictures from behind a tallish wooden rail fence along the roadway. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. I hope you have enjoyed this surprise – I sure did! Sorry this is posted a bit late today. I had to have an Internet tech come and do repairs to the cable system (three buildings had a similar outage here last night and this AM). So back to normal now.
A Great Blue Heron was back here at the little farm pond three days ago. It flew in and walked among the cattle on the other side of the pond. After a few minutes, the big bird walked down to the reedy shore-line and stood looking for a tasty meal. I think it was being annoyed by a male Red-winged Blackbird, which if you look carefully, you’ll see in one of the photographs. After awhile I left so as not to disturb the bird. At that time, I don’t know if it went hungry or had a good meal.
The Great Blue Heron eats fish, frogs, insects and small aquatic animals. I took these pictures in my yard on June 4, 2012, and again early last evening (6/6/12). Last night while I was taking some of these pictures, a Great Blue Heron (possibly the same one that was here on Monday) was here again. That bird was quite happy to have caught a fish to eat! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
I was out with the camera yesterday afternoon at pond-side and accidentally startled the little family of Wood Ducks. Mama quickly led her trio of ducklings away from the shore and way out onto the pond and across to the other shore. She had hidden her ducklings in amongst the tall reeds where I did not at first spot them. The Wood Ducks are quite shy and unlike the gregarious Mallards, just don’t want to be around humans.
These ducks eat insects and tiny pond animals so I think there may be delicious worms and snails around in the reeds and rushes to tempt the ducklings. I did not see the drake out this afternoon. He may be resting or away with some of the other males at the nearby lake. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
By the way, the famed once-in-a-lifetime event, “The Transit of Venus” will happen late this afternoon (time for the United States of America views). I am going to observe by watching on the NASA website (this is an address reference for you)<http://sunearthday.gsfc.nasa.gov/webcasts/nasaedge/>. Never directly look at the Sun as you could become blinded. Treat this as if you were going to watch a Solar Eclipse.
I am totally thrilled to let you know that last night at about 7:30pm. I saw a proud mama Wood Duck at this side of the pond with her three ducklings! Three or four ducklings is typical for many Wood Duck pairs to have. I think these babies are two days old now. Excuse the fuzzy slightly out of focus photographs. The light was dim and I was quite a ways from the ducks. I must have frightened the mother duck as she quickly started with the babies, paddling across the pond. I hope to get different pictures another day but these ducks are extremely shy and will be more so with the new babies in tow. I took these pictures last night. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
It is nesting season for the waterfowl, I believe that both of these Wood Duck pairs are taking a break from their nesting duties with unhatched eggs on the nest. They would never leave any ducklings alone so I believe that they have either taken a well-deserved short break, have unsuccessfully nested or are intending to nest soon. The other possibility is that these two couples are older and are no longer in the mood to nest. Seeing the Wood Ducks out these days is a rare sight. The Wood Ducks are likely nesting high up in the trees near the dam of the little farm pond here. I took these pictures on May 30, 2012 in my yard. Just this morning, I saw a hen Wood Duck foraging for insects grubs and worms in the front yard grass. A beautiful, serene sight! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
An Eastern Bluebird
Here are a few random views of the little farm that I took this past week. I enjoy seeing lots of wildlife here. We have three or four Cotton-tailed Rabbits, a few Eastern Chipmunks, several Grey Squirrels, numerous Canada Geese, a few different kinds of ducks, and many different birds! I hope you’ll enjoy seeing a few views. I have included birds and animals plus just plain scenery. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.
A View of the Pond
A Cotton-Tailed Rabbit
An Eastern Chipmunk
Canada Geese and Goslings
A Mourning Dove
A Grey Squirrel
I took these pictures here in my yard in the last two days. I am always amazed at the big variety of different birds, ducks and small animals that come around. I even had this mysterious kitty that is hopefully a neighbor’s wayward pet. I also saw a Cotton-Tailed Rabbit on the street just in front of the driveway.
The Wood Ducks were lounging on the opposite shoreline near the dam. The Eastern Chipmunk was sneaking up on the porch looking for bird seed treats. I saw an American Robin sitting on a fence post. There even was a Chipping Sparrow on the bird feeder and also a Tufted Titmouse. The Red-Headed Woodpecker and the White-Breasted Nuthatch made themselves known, too! I had a great time looking at all the wildlife! Both of the days I took these pictures on had short, on and off rains. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
The family of Canada Geese is doing just fine here on the little farm pond and around the grassy pastures here. The seven goslings are two weeks old and are growing a lot. They are beginning to look a lot more like geese then they had earlier when they were little yellow fluff-balls. The Canada Geese eat grass and certain tender plants as well as some of the grains. They are content here eating the grass. The goslings have been out on the pond several times a day with the parents. At least one adult is always with the goslings. The Canada Geese are devoted parents. The goslings won’t fly until they are between three and four months of age. I have enjoyed seeing the babies here. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
A Pair of Mallard Ducks
There are still a few ducks around the little farm pond. All of the ducks and geese here are wild waterfowl. I do not feed the waterfowl at all, at least not intentionally. There is a pair of very bright Mallard Ducks that has figured out that tasty little morsels of bird seed fall from the feeder whenever birds perch there. When the feeder tips a bit, seeds fall to the ground and boy to those ducks enjoy it! So the pair of Mallards can sometimes be seen waddling up to the house area from the pond. It is slightly comical.
The other ducks here are a small flock of Wood Ducks, and the lone female Ring-Necked Duck that has lived here for several months. The Mallards and the Wood Ducks live around here all year-long but the Ring-Necked Duck should be a migrant visitor. We will see. I took these pictures on May 4, 2012 and again on May 6, 2012 in my yard. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
A Drake Mallard Duck
A Drake Wood Duck
The Hen Ring-Necked Duck