These Great Blue Herons recently were spotted fishing at two lakes here in The Villages, FL. The big herons are tremendous at wading in shallow water to spear fish or frogs with their long sharp bills. They sometimes also dine on mice if the mouse is close to the shore, and same for small snakes and lizards.
The Great Blue Herons fly to the pond, lake, river or marsh, from their rookery in the tops of larger sturdy trees. After fishing, herons will step out of the water, make a short flight up the shoreline, land, and spread their wings in the Sunshine to dry themselves (if necessary) before returning to the hunt or to the roost. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that picture. Enjoy!
Egyptian Geese were spotted at the lovely Boone Park on Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL on an unusually chilly afternoon on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. This quartet is a part of a small number of these exotic imported geese whose ancestors originally hail from North Africa. I would expect that these particular geese were born here in Florida. The Egyptian Geese are closely related to the Shellducks who they closely resemble. The Egyptian Geese are small geese. They are beautiful.
The quartet tried to approach our golf cart at the side of the road (this probably is a learned begging response such as the Ibises around here have). I do not feed wild larger birds (I occasionally do feed songbirds). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A Pair of Common Moorhens
Both the Common Moorhens and the Common Coots are here in The Villages, FL during the winter months. We also have moorhens here all year long but do have many more around in the winter.
Common Moorhens show different coloring between the genders while mostly the coots are just a charcoal black. Moorhen drakes are also charcoal while the hens are a brown color. Moorhens have a fleshy red growth on their faces and the coots have a white growth. Both types are members of the Rail family of water birds. Both look like a cross between a chicken and a duck. Moorhens and coots live in marshes, lakes, ponds, and slow streams. The coots and moorhens are good at flight. The coots form “Rafts” which are huge numbers of birds paddling together on a body of water. Coots are more flock birds while the Moorhens are often in pairs or small groups. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
A Raft of Common Coots
Snowy Egrets are here in The Villages, FL, all year around. There also are a number of migratory Snowies here during the winter months. These small egrets fish in the ponds and lakes for smaller fish, frogs, baby alligators, aquatic insects and in the shoreline grasses for small lizards and snakes.
The Snowy Egrets are currently in their long plush breeding plumage. Snowy Egrets have a black bill, yellowish-green legs and bright yellow feet. They are very beautiful wading birds! I am always glad to see the Snowies but they are shy birds and pretty hard to photograph unless one is fairly far away. By the way, our cold weather (and I have a cold) has kept me at home more this past week than I had planned so these photos are those I had taken earlier in the year. I hope to get out soon and take a bunch of pictures here at our local lakes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Mallard and Hybrid Mallard Mottled Ducks
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Hybrid Male Mallard and Florida Mottled Duck
Lesser Scaup Drake (male)
Sandhill Cranes at a pond on Morse near Live Oak Park
Egrets, Herons, Wood Storks, Sandhill Cranes, Anhingas, Double-crested Cormorants, Seagulls, and Common Coots were all spotted here on Freedom Pointe Lake and Lake Sumter in The Villages, FL this last weekend. What a bunch of wonderful birds to observe!
This area has a lot of ponds, small lakes and medium lakes plus marsh lands so there is a great many spots to observe the wildlife. We get a lot of different species of birds here in the Winter months. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version. Enjoy!
Cormorants, Egrets and Seagulls at Freedom Pointe Lake
Wood Storks and Anhingas
Great Blue Heron at Freedom Pointe Lake
A Raft of Common Coots on Lake Sumter
A Common Coot on Lake Sumter
A Double-Crested Cormorant on Freedom Pointe Lake
Wood Storks have been here in The Villages, FL, for about a month in larger numbers. A few days ago, I spotted seven of the large white and black birds at Lake Paradise. The big birds mostly are seen standing still or in flight. This is the second instance where I have seen Wood Storks laying on the ground resting. I noted that this behavior is similar to that seen in the White Ibis. I found it interesting.
The Wood Storks mostly fish by putting their large hard scoop-like bill into the mud and sucking in snails, larger insects, worms, tadpoles, frogs and small fish. I have read that some Wood Storks travel miles and miles from their tree roost to search for food. Amazing! I really enjoy seeing these birds! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!