A trio of Florida Mottled Ducks, a Wood Stork with a Great Egret, and a hunting Snowy Egret were all spotted at the lovely Lake Paradise in The Villages, Florida. I spotted these at Boone Park and at Schwartz Park, which is right around the corner basically, from Boone Park. Both small pocket parks have a nice viewing area and the water at Boone has filled in nicely after the drought.
This is a neighborhood residential lake with three parks on it. The larger park of the trio is Paradise Park. I often go to this lake to watch for larger birds. I also occasionally spot Sandhill Cranes such as the trio I photographed in flight above the adjacent neighborhood. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Wood Stork and Great Egret
Florida Mottled Ducks
Little Blue Heron at Ochlockonee River State Park, Florida
I spotted these Little Blue Herons at the little lake behind Freedom Pointe in The Villages, FL at a vernal pool in the campground at the Ochlockonee River State Park near St. Mark’s National Wildlife Sanctuary in North-Central Florida, and also at both Schwartz and Boone Parks in The Villages at Lake Paradise (which is now refilling with water). I saw these beautiful big wading birds within the last month (Schwartz and Boone herons possibly with Snowy Egrets or juvenile herons, on Wednesday).
The Little Blue Herons start as white juveniles and as they age, they turn a beautiful purple blue with olive-green legs and feet. They are much more of a blue hue than the similar-looking Reddish Egret.
The Little Blue Herons eat frogs, fish, crawfish, small turtles, baby alligators, ducklings, and occasionally aquatic snails, worms, and larger aquatic insects. They generally spear their prey with their sharp long bill and then gulp the food down. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Little Blue Heron at Boone Park in The Villages, FL
Little Blue Heron at Schwartz Park in The Villages, FL
Little Blue Heron at Ochlockonee River State Park in Florida
Snowy Egret with Little Blue Heron at Freedom Pointe in The Villages, FL
Little Blue Heron at Freedom Pointe in The Villages, FL
Lake Paradise in The Villages, Florida has an amazing number of birds visiting these days. Of course with the water level so low, there has been very easy access to fish, frogs, tadpoles, turtles, aquatic insects, and aquatic plants. The supermarket for birds has been open for fine dining and the birds have been loving it. No rain other than our big storm on Saturday. That helped a tiny bit. I was glad for the moisture.
I took these pictures on Sunday early in the evening. I spotted the flock of White Pelicans, a Great Blue Heron, a pair of Egyptian Geese, a few Double Crested Cormorants, lots of Canada Geese, a flock of White Ibis, several small shorebirds, crows, and the usual Mallard and Mottled Ducks. I never know what birds will be there so it is a lot of fun to check on the visitors. I think they also somehow check on us, too! Ha!
Please click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger version of that picture. Enjoy!
A Lesser Yellowlegs with reflections on the lake
Lake Paradise is one of the little park lakes here in The Villages, Florida. It is home to a variety of birds big and small. The level of the lake is way down now. We are in a drought. This is a man-made lake and depends on rainfall for its water.
I spotted the Belted Kingfisher again. I have photographed the bird several different times. I also saw a pair of Canada Geese browsing up in the park near the shoreline. There were about a hundred small shorebirds and Seagulls. The shorebirds likely were some type of plovers and Lesser Yellowlegs. I also saw a lone Snowy Egret and a lone Great Blue Heron. The sad fact is that those shorebirds were wading in what should be the middle of the lake in mere inches of water.
Not many ducks at all this morning. I took the pictures at about 8:00am. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Low water levels!
Shorebirds (probably Plovers)
The Sandhill Cranes suddenly appeared on Saturday night at twilight (12/14/17) at the little neighborhood Lake Paradise here in The Villages, Florida. I took these pictures at Swartz Park. There were twenty-one Sandhill Cranes in all. The Sandhill Cranes are enjoying the low water levels which make hunting for aquatic insects, small fish, crustaceans, and even aquatic plants, very easy. I believe these are migrating birds. 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! A reminder – the Black-bellied Whistling Duck juveniles have the bluish bill and feet while the adult ducks have pink bills and feet. I snapped these pictures on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016 on Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL.