Great Blue Herons are now beginning to raise young and are molting (losing breeding feathers) so they are mostly on their nests unless hunting for a meal. They wade in shallow water in the early morning and late afternoon to catch fish, frogs, ducklings, shoreline snakes, lizards, and nearly anything else they can catch to eat.
We have a year-around population of Great Blue Herons here in The Villages, Florida. These birds nest in colonies way up in sturdy Oaks and Pines near ponds or lakes. Many are now proud parents and will be raising chicks for several more weeks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Double-crested Cormorants are here for their Winter visit to The Villages, Florida. These birds are at home on and in the water, as well as roosting in the larger trees over-night. They are also excellent at flying from place to place. These water birds will be leaving our area in coming days and weeks to start migrating North. Cormorants often accompany White Pelicans or Great Egrets in their migration.
Cormorants eat fish, frogs, small turtles, baby alligators, and larger aquatic insects. The brown, rust. grey and black birds with orange bills, dive for their prey. The birds like Anhingas, spread their wings to dry them before flight.
Sometimes, the Double-crested Cormorants will assist the White Pelicans in hunting by circling the fish to gather them and then sharing the bounty. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Alligators are commonly seen on the North Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive in Apopka, Florida. The alligators can be seen mostly in the former farm canals, but also some can be seen in the large lake itself. Some of the alligators I spotted when I visited on March 3, 2019, were very large!
All of the gators were either swimming in the water or were on an opposite shore so I always felt quite safe along the road when I would get out of the car to take pictures. All of the alligators are wild and one must be careful around them. Please click on the thumbnail images to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Several Glossy Ibis were spotted in various places along the shoreline of the beautiful and very large, Lake Apopka on the North Wildlife Drive, in Apopka, FL, yesterday morning.
The Glossy Ibis like eating aquatic plants, seeds, small insects, and aquatic snails. The Glossy Ibis wade through the shallows and often are seen among the reeds or perched in low trees.
These are very lovely wading birds with dark mahogany brown, dark cinnamon brown and highlights of blue on their feathers. Like the White Ibis, their bill is rubbery and banana shaped, but the bill is a tan color rather than the pink bill that the White Ibis has. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
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
Southern Bald Eagle
Common Moorhens, a lovely Purple Gallinule, and a few male Boat-tailed Grackles (in blue-black feather finery) were spotted at the Sharon Rose Wiechens Nature Preserve in The Villages, FL, last Tuesday. I also saw a smallish alligator and a couple of Anhingas in the distance. Up on the high tension electrical tower, I spotted a Southern Bald Eagle. I also saw a mockingbird on the wooden observation tower railing. I have occasionally seen eagles on that tower in past years. Our Winter birds are beginning to arrive here and it is very exciting to see many more birds around the community! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Male Boat-tailed Grackle
Hen Common Moorhen