Here are the last of the photographs I took last week at the Sharon Wiechens Nature Preserve in The Villages, FL. I saw a Great Blue Heron; the bill and neck of an Anhinga bird peeking out of the murky canal water in front of the lake; a Coot; and a male Boat-tailed Grackle. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Boat-tailed Grackle (male)
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 Little Blue Heron was hunting for its dinner in the shallow waters on the marshland edge of Lake Sumter in The Villages, Florida at “Sunrise Point”.
The Little Blue Heron like its larger cousin, the Great Blue Heron, eats fish, frogs, crayfish, small turtles, aquatic snails, water fowl eggs, mice, and larger insects. I did not see this particular bird actually get any prey but it sure did try! I had a good view from a raised wooden deck platform in the park and also from the lawn on another part of the small park on the edge of the marsh.
The Little Blue Heron is a small purple-blue heron that often has a juvenile white phase where it closely resembles an egret. I really enjoyed watching this bird and am thrilled to live near many ponds and lakes where there are many wading and water birds around. I took these pictures last night at dusk (November 2, 2015). Please click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
This is a Little Blue Heron and not an egret! I understand how a person could be confused. The Little Blue Herons have a white color phase as juveniles. Yes, the Little Blue Herons really will turn that purple blue color that most people are familiar with.
I spotted this Little Blue Heron on a small pier at a little park lake in The Villages, Florida near Spanish Springs Square on September 13, 2015. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a very slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, South of Gainesville, Florida, is a beautiful place! It is close enough to a small city yet it is wilderness. Within the park there is a woodland area; a few fairly tropical-looking spots; the nice small Visitor’s Center; a vast, marshy prairie; small ponds; and a medium-sized lake.
We went into the interior of the park and paid the nominal day use fee. We did see the Alligator at the Highway 441 overlook just outside of the official park (no charge to go out on that boardwalk pier overlook). The huge observation tower within the main part of the park was closed for repairs yesterday.
There is a lot of varied wildlife at times within this park. I took these pictures on November 30, 2014. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
White Pelican and Cormorant
Roadway in Paynes Prairie State Park
Yesterday I was out walking in the yard and in front of our place here. The first bird I saw was the Mourning Dove which perched on the electric line. The interesting sighting of the afternoon was the Grey Squirrel that scampered out to the road. It then scooted right across the pavement to a nearby grove of Oaks. The squirrel had a Hickory Nut in its mouth. I seldom see any squirrels here so it was a nice sighting.
Canada Geese were here on the pond. I accidentally spooked those geese and off they flew. I wanted to see how things were at the small private community lake across the street and down a small hill. I noticed that there were a number of Canada Geese there so I snapped away. I took these pictures on Sept. 18, 2012. Today I am thrilled to tell you that we have sunny skies and mild cool temperatures here. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
We have a small flock of “resident” Canada Geese here. The geese come and go between the lake that is down the small hill from this little farm and the pond here. Because of the nasty cold weather and high winds we have recently been having, the geese were here on the pond for several mornings in a row recently. These big geese eat grains and grasses for the most part. They are plant eaters. This group I have been seeing occasionally get noisy with their honking. When the geese get alerted to any perceived danger, or when they travel by flying, they tend to honk loudly. This is for the protection of the flock. The funny thing is that the honking stirs up the cattle and sometimes, the cows and steers will start mooing. What a ruckus at times! I don’t really mind because this is short in duration and is just another part of nature. I took these pictures in my yard and at the street end of my driveway (lake picture) on two days this last week. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photograph. Enjoy!
Mallard Ducks have been about the only waterfowl I have seen on the lake here in the three days I have been back at home after my recent trip. The Mallard flock seems to be right at about twenty but the birds are spread out along the lake in smaller groupings. This bunch of ducks is much more chatty and seem to quack a lot more than other flocks of ducks I have seen here. The groups I have photographed seem to cruise by my yard at about 5:00 PM with regularity. The one group was paddling slowly and circled around as they preened and bathed and drank. It was great to see and hear the gregarious ducks! I took these pictures from my deck but did not use my long lens. Soon I will be getting my bird feeders back up and will be seeing more birds and other wildlife. We have been having dock work so the animals are not around as much as in previous times. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Pair of Bufflehead Ducks and Female Lesser Scaup Duck (top)
The Lesser Scaup Ducks, Bufflehead Ducks, and Mallard Ducks were all happily paddling in mass along the shoreline near my dock. Our 101 acre private community lake where I live had been frozen for the past week and just thawed out during the evening of 12/30/10. I took these pictures yesterday from my living room window, my back deck and from a window in my basement. I have never seen so many ducks in the same place at the same time here. There must have been about two hundred ducks in all. We also had the American Coots and the Canada Geese here. This is the first of two posts with these pictures of the Ducks. I’ll post the other here soon.
I will keep this post short and very sweet. Happy New Year to all! Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture!
No, these particular “Lunker”-sized Channel Catfish are not for fishing. At least you are not permitted to fish within this area of the marina at our community lake. The fish are almost considered to be pets. The visiting tourists and kids all love seeing the great big fish that seem to gather every summer right in front of the little marina store area. Of course, the Canada Geese get in on the action, too (Notice some are goslings). These giant fish (even the Bluegills are getting the royal treatment) are beloved by lots of the people here, and it is nice to be able to see the fish up close. I used a polarizing filter on my camera lens to get the underwater photos from the surface. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Channel Catfish and Bluegills
Channel Catfish and Bluegills