A Pied-billed Grebe
The Sharon Wiechens Nature Preserve in The Villages is a community treasure of a place! I really enjoy visiting this lake-side preserve here. I made a short trip there yesterday afternoon and saw quite a few different birds. I spotted two Southern Bald Eagles; a Pied Billed Grebe; a flying hen Mallard Duck; a Great Egret; a Glossy Ibis; a nesting Moorhen; and a few Boat-tailed Grackles.
I also saw a few Common Coots there at the preserve. Usually I spot something different when we visit each time. There is a fantastic boardwalk deck overlook which loops around into the lake itself over the shallow marsh. I also occasionally go up onto the wooden observation deck structure for a quick look around. I did not see any Sherman’s Fox Squirrels this trip. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A Great Egret
Male Boat-tailed Grackles
A Glossy Ibis
Southern Bald Eagles (From a distance)
A Hen Mallard
Common Moorhen on its Nest
Four Glossy Ibis, a Bald Eagle, a pair of Sandhill Cranes, a Great Egret, a beautiful Tribute-colored Heron, Sherman’s Fox Squirrels, a Grey Squirrel, Common Moorhens, and a Little Blue Heron were all spotted at the wonderful Sharon Weichens Nature Preserve here in The Villages, Florida yesterday afternoon.
It had rained (thankfully) earlier in the day so the birds were out in force gobbling up many food items that had washed into the medium-sized lake at this beautiful preserve. I do not think I have ever spotted so many different types of birds and animals while there at the preserve. We were there at about 3:30 in the afternoon.
That Bald Eagle looks like it is starting a nest up on the high tension line tower. I was a long way away from the eagle and was happy I had the long lens. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. P.S. I will post more pictures I took today in a future post.
Little Blue Heron
Grey Squirrel with a nut
Sherman’s Fox Squirrel
Southern Bald Eagle
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Great Blue Heron & Wood Stork
This Wood Stork was strolling around the shore of the Santiago golf course pond in The Villages, Florida, a few days ago with several other wading and shorebirds. Amazingly, a Bald Eagle overlooked the scene. I am thrilled to see the Wood Stork as it has been several months since I last spotted any Wood Storks here in The Villages.
The Wood Stork uses its large thick bill to scoop through the mud for bits of worms, snails, insects, aquatic plants and pretty much any small aquatic animals to eat. I just love seeing these endangered species list big birds! I think they are so serene and unique. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Wood Stork & Glossy Ibis
This Glossy Ibis in its breeding finery was spotted a few days ago at the Santiago Golf Course pond in The Villages, Florida. I took the pictures at about 7:00PM. This is the first Glossy Ibis I have seen that was so brilliantly colored. A show-off stunner of a bird!
These wading birds enjoy aquatic worms, aquatic plants, some insects, tiny fish, tadpoles, and the occasional seeds and grains. They like freshwater marshes but the manicured lawn shoreline of a golf course will do just fine, of course! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
This Glossy Ibis was spotted on Saturday, April 30 2016 at a small parkland pond in The Villages, Florida. This pond is located on Morse Ave. above CR 466 and is along the golf cart multi-modal path. This pond is near the beautiful Live Oaks Park and Lake Sumter.
Glossy Ibises are a little more common than the White Ibis in the USA but here in Central Florida, the White Ibis are more numerous. This Glossy Ibis is the third Glossy Ibis I have seen in the last year. Some can easily confuse the Glossy Ibis with juvenile White Ibises but the Glossy is a deep brown all over without any hint of white. The juvenile White Ibises have a light brown color with a pinkish bill and begin to turn white fairly young.
By the way, in addition to the Sandhill Cranes, the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, egret, and Florida Mottled Ducklings I saw at this pond with the ibis, I also spotted a Great Blue Heron! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
Glossy Ibis (at far right)
Great Blue Heron
This Glossy Ibis is the first Glossy Ibis I have ever seen. I spotted the big wader feeding in the shallow marsh on the edge of a medium-sized lake here. I took the pictures from a raised wooden deck observation platform at a little park, Live Oaks Park, in The Villages, FL (The “Sunrise Point” observation platform on Lake Sumter).
The Glossy Ibises live along the Southeastern Atlantic coastline here in the United States as well as in some places in Europe, Great Britain, and Africa.
Glossy Ibises eat aquatic insects, small fish, worms, and aquatic snails. They use that long bill to root around in the muddy water for their prey. This particular bird shown, is in its non-breeding colors. It is very different from the juvenile White Ibis (which is shown in the center photograph below), side-by-side with the Glossy Ibis. This bird gets a bronze and green coloring that is very attractive bright and glossy when in breeding finery. The Glossy Ibis also has that dark grey blue-brown bill and similar coloring on the legs and feet. I took the pictures on Dec. 30 2015.
Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year! This is the beginning of my seventh year of writing this blog. Happy birding and wildlife-watching in 2016! P.S. Sorry for the late post today – too much fun, frivolity, and football. Wildlifewatzher