Six Sandhill Cranes were spotted on the shores of our little neighborhood park lake, Paradise Lake, on Sunday, December 11, 2016. Two were near Swartz Park and four were on the far shore across from Paradise Park.
I think I witnessed a courtship dance but that is uncertain. All of the sudden two of the four cranes started flapping their wings, bowing down a little and then each hopped several times. I think it was hubba-hubba I am great or maybe aggression? Who knows? I have never seen this behavior in person. These are likely not resident Florida cranes. I believe these are Winter visitors and may be on the way further South. Again, who can tell? Perhaps these beautiful big birds will remain in The Villages for the Winter season. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version. By the way, in one picture, there is a Great Blue Heron standing very close to a Sandhill Crane. The crane is the one with the red marking on its forehead. Enjoy!
This inquisitive Eastern Blue Jay was spying on the goings-on in the parking lot next to Lake Miramar in The Villages, Florida, yesterday late in the afternoon. Blue Jays are pretty intelligent birds and I think are often interested in what is happening around them.
I also think that the medium-sized songbird was investigating the fact that the White Ibis crowd and Seagulls in the park, were being hand fed by well-meaning (still should not be happening) tourist children. Maybe the Blue Jay had even been in on the goodies. Who knows? After a few moments, the jay flew off to other adventures elsewhere. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Anhingas and Double Crested Cormorants both are fairly commonly seen here in Central Florida lakes and ponds during the Winter months. Both are water birds that fly as well as swim, dive, and stand or walk on the shoreline. Anhingas prefer fresh water and Cormorants are seen in both fresh and salt water. Both birds are meat eaters.
The Anhinga is a larger bird than the Double Crested Cormorant. Anhingas have a long sword-like bill while the Double Crested Cormorants have a shorter slightly thicker bill with a slight hook at the tip. The Anhinga has a honey brown throat and some streaky white feathers on the tail and back. The Double Crested Cormorant is very dark brown with the orange-yellow feet and bill.
Anhingas tend to roost in tall trees such as the Cypress Tree. Anhingas are often solitary or with a mate while cormorants tend to be more of flock group birds. I photographed both of these kinds of birds here in the past month. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Double Crested Cormorants
Double Crested Cormorants with Pelicans
Close-up of the Bill of an Anhinga
Double Crested Cormorants
Anhinga (left) and Cormorant
Juvenile White Ibis and Adult White Ibis
Juvenile White Ibis
White Ibis, Tri-color Heron and Mallard Ducks were spotted last week here at Lake Paradise in the lovely little Paradise Park in The Villages, Florida. This small lake is home to a wide variety of geese, ducks, coots, cormorants, egrets, ibis, herons and turtles. I really enjoy seeing the big birds in spots around the lake.
By the way, the Apple Snail is a favorite food of several of the wading birds here, especially so for the ibises. It also is “Duck chasing season” where bachelor ducks vie for the hen of their dreams and chase each other, and the hen, all over the lake. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Drake Mallard Duck
Drake Mallard Duck
Drake Mallard Duck
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Snow Goose (A better view of the same bird shown on Wed.)
This post concludes the two part look at the amazing bunch of water birds that I saw on Tuesday at Lake Paradise in The Villages, Florida. I was so thrilled to see all the variety of birds here. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger view of that photo. Enjoy!
Hybrid Canada Goose and Canada Goose
Lesser Scaup Ducks
This pair of Red-shouldered Hawks has moved into the neighborhood here where I live. We have been seeing the birds of prey here for the past week. I think they are now in the process of nest building. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Here are some of the various kinds of herons I have spotted here in Florida. I have seen the common Great Blue Heron; the Great White Heron; the Little Blue Heron in both the blue and the white phases; the Tri-colored Heron; and the Green Heron. I have not photographed a Yellow-crowned Night Heron but I did spot one at Sanibel Island a couple of years ago.
Around The Villages, Florida area, I often see the Great Blue Herons, the Little Blue Herons and the Tri-colored Herons. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Adult Little Blue Heron
Juvenile Little Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron (photo taken at dusk)
Great White Heron in Breeding Plumage
Cedar Waxwings, Boat-tailed Grackles, Northern Cardinals, and of course, White Ibises all have visited along the street here where I live in recent weeks. It is always surprising to see which bird (and squirrel) is around! The Grey Squirrels are usually well-behaved but on occasion, they do walk gingerly across my front screened porch screening. No holes and that is a status I hope continues.
The Ibises are gentle and unfortunately easily frightened when grazing on lawns (not so when begging at the local park lakes). Occasionally we also have Eastern Blue Jays, Carolina Wrens, Northern Mockingbirds, and Palm Warblers around but they are pretty rarely seen (same for Bluebirds, Crows, and hawks or vultures). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
Northern Cardinals (likely juvenile males)
A hen Northern Cardinal, a Palm Warbler, and a small flock of White Ibises were all visitors to my yards this past week. I took the pictures of the cardinal and warbler from inside my home through the window. The Ibises had taken advantage of the rainy weather to seek out grubs and worms in the lawn. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Hen Northern Cardinal
Palm Warbler on the Live Oak