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
Great Blue Heron
The North Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, Apopka, FL, visit last Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, was a huge success! I enjoyed seeing a lot of birds and alligators. Here are the last few photographs I enjoyed taking. I hope you will enjoy seeing these beautiful birds! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.
Anhinga in Flight
Little Blue Heron
I spotted this lovely family of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at the Lake Okahumpka County Park in Sumter County, FL near The Villages, on Sunday, August 26, 2018. The juvenile whistlers have a bluish bill and similar colored feet and legs. As they approach adulthood, their bill, legs and feet turn bright pink. The ducklings were feeding while one of the parents stood guard against any predators.
Whistling Ducks are tipping ducks as you can see in several of the pictures. The ducks lean into the water and use their bill to scrape around the mud and water to find any tasty bits of insects, fish eggs, tadpoles, snails, frogs and smaller fish. They also will eat vegetation and seeds. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Double Crested Cormorants are frequently here on our ponds and lakes in the winter months here in The Villages, Florida. These birds enjoy the warm weather quite a lot and around ponds, lakes, rivers, and both fresh and salt water marsh-lands. Some of these cormorants are natives here but many are migrants from places north of us. I also have spotted Double-Crested Cormorants at marina docks on the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico at Cedar Key here in Florida.
These water birds dive for fish, frogs, baby alligators, tender soft-shelled turtles and larger aquatic insects and aquatic mollusks. At times, Double-crested Cormorants are mixed in near the White Pelicans here. The Double-Crested Cormorants are similar in looks to the slightly smaller Anhinga birds. The Anhingas have a straight bill while there is a downward hook to the tip of the bill on the Double-Crested Cormorants. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Diving for a bit of food
Great and Snowy Egrets and Mallard Ducks
Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and several other kinds of wading birds and water birds were all spotted at a large freshwater marsh/rainfall retention area that is a nature preserve here in The Villages, FL community. This bird spot is located on Buena Vista Blvd. just South of the Lake Miona Recreation Center and the Bass Fishing Pond on that same street.
There were perhaps fifty egrets there with additional Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons, White Ibis, and Mottled Ducks, Mallard Ducks and the ever popular Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (including many juvenile whistlers)! A truly nice gathering of birds to observe. I took these pictures yesterday morning from the grassy area off of the multi-modal path near a nicely placed bench. I of course used my long lens as the birds were quite a distance away. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly smaller version of the photo. Enjoy!
Egrets and Florida Mottled Ducks
Egrets in the Preserve