Juvenile White Ibis
White Ibises and Great Egrets are among the many varieties of birds frequenting our shrinking small lakes here in The Villages, FL these days. The Great Egrets are sporting their magnificent breeding plumage now. Quite the beautiful sight! There are several juvenile White Ibises around, too. The youngsters have the brown color mixed in with the white. In a few months, they will turn white.
I took these pictures on Dec. 20, 2016 at Paradise Lake. We are in a drought and the little lake is rapidly drying up. The Boone Park area of the lake is mostly mud flats and Swartz Park is nearly so. The main part of the lake still has a lot of water so all is not dire. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version the picture. Enjoy. Wishing everyone a very happy New Year in 2017!
Adult White Ibis
Great Egret with empty Apple Snail shells on mud flat lake bottom
Wood Storks, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Double Crested Cormorants, Ring-necked Ducks, and Hooded Mergansers all visited the little park lake (Paradise Lake) here in the past two weeks.
An interesting thing about Wood Storks is how they sit. Their knees bend so that their lower legs rest in front – quite the opposite from many animals. and of course, people.
I took these pictures on Dec. 21-22, 2016. Most of these water birds are meat-eaters and they certainly had easy fishing since our lake is drying up (we are in a drought). I wish all who celebrate, a happy Hanukkah. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy! Happy New Year!
Great Blue Heron
Hooded Merganser Ducks
Double Crested Cormorant
Great Egret in Breeding Plumage
White Pelicans, Wood Storks, Great Blue Herons, Osprey, Ring-necked Ducks, Hooded Merganser Ducks, Great Egrets, a Belted Kingfisher, Sandhill Cranes, and a Red-tailed Hawk were all spotted on our neighborhood park lake within the past two weeks. It was amazing! I so enjoy bird watching and it was really fun to see so many different birds here at once. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
Red-tailed Hawk in Flight
Great Blue Heron
Wood Storks; a Great Blue Heron; Great Egrets; Snowy Egrets; Double-crested Cormorants; Pied-billed Grebes; a Little Blue Heron and a small flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were all vying for a meal of tasty fish, tadpoles, frogs, small turtles; or larger aquatic insects in the lovely little Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL on Sunday, October 23, 2016.
This is quite an unusual sight to find so many varieties and numbers of wading birds all in one spot. Most of these birds are migrating and are just stopping over to rest in the small welcoming lake.
In these feeding frenzies, I have seen it be common for the herons, egrets, and storks to follow what is happening with the cormorants in the water. By the way, later in the day, I also saw a Tri-colored Heron at Swartz Park.
I took these pictures from Paradise Park and Swartz Park on the small private residential lake. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Wood Storks, Snowy Egret
A Great Egret with White Ibises and Mallard Duck
These Great Egrets were spotted on the shore of Paradise Lake in The Villages, FL on October 11, 2016 late in the afternoon. The big birds were wading in the shallow water and walking on the grassy shoreline, hunting for a quick supper. Great Egrets are sometimes even seen walking among the landscaping shrubbery at parking lots in our area of Florida. Our area of Florida has many small lakes, ponds, and swampy marshes which are home to various wading birds such as egrets and herons. The Great Egrets are both resident and migratory in this area.
Great Egrets are tall white birds that have black legs and feet, and a sharp long yellow bill. Great Egrets eat fish, frogs, turtles, aquatic snails, aquatic insects, lizards, small snakes, large land insects, and occasionally mice.
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Great Egret with Mallard Duck Hybrid
Great Egret with Florida Mottled Ducks
Yesterday afternoon my husband and I visited the Weichens nature preserve here in The Villages, FL. We saw several really wonderful birds. No squirrels this time as it was hot and very windy out. One has to take their time at this preserve. Because the rules say that visitors need to stay on the sidewalk and boardwalk, the viewing space through the lawn area is pretty distant as far as birds go. The Sherman’s Fox Squirrels usually hang out on the ground near the sidewalk so that is a plus.
Take your time if visiting. Being patient is helpful in that birds often appear out of nowhere and only stay a brief moment or two in one spot. By the way, thanks to a knowledgeable reader, I have identified the hawk I saw yesterday as a Sharp-shinned Hawk. Beautiful bird! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
Male Common Moorhen
Family of Common Moorhens
Osprey in Flight
Little Blue Heron
Common Moorhen Chick
A Cattle Egret in Breeding Colors
Cattle Egrets, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Anhingas, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, and other large wading birds have created a rookery or nesting area in a marshy preserve on Morse Ave. in The Villages, FL above CR 466. This area is along a popular golf cart multi-modal pathway and golf carts can easily stop there in the grassy area in front of the rail fence (not automobiles). I have photographed this area once before.
I was very surprised to see the large flock of hundreds of Cattle Egrets that have nested there in the front section of the preserve. The swampy area likely is protected by both the fence and the Alligators that may be present in the shallow marsh under the shrubbery. I took these pictures in the afternoon, on April 30, 2016. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Great Egret in Flight
Cattle Egrets in the Roost
Cattle Egret with Nesting Materials
Nesting Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret Nest