Great Blue Heron
Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Tri-colored Herons all were spotted and photographed by me in the last two weeks here in The Villages, Florida. We have a lot of small ponds, and lakes here where the waders visit and live. I especially enjoy going to the parks and road-side ponds to snap pictures of the local water birds. Such fun!
Most of these larger birds live year around here in the Sumter, Marion, and Lake Counties where The Villages is located (Yes it is a very huge development). The development has set aside many wildlife areas here. I so appreciate being able to go out and spot such a rich variety of wildlife in the community here. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the
Great Egret in Breeding Plumage
Tri-colored Heron with Seagulls and Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Two Great Horned Owlets were spotted yesterday afternoon at a fabulous park that is close to the housing development where I live in Marion County, Florida. These were the first baby owls I have seen in the wild. The two babies were up in a stick nest high in a Pine Tree next to the little ornamental Koi Pond.
I also noted a hungry Common Cormorant and several basking small turtles. I did not see any Great Blue Herons and I am thinking that these owls are in an abandoned heron nest (I recall seeing herons in that same tree last Spring). I took these pictures on March 19, 2015 late on an overcast afternoon. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photo. Enjoy!
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Here are some of the ducks I have spotted in the last several weeks in Marion County, Florida. I saw all except the Florida Mottled Ducks at Tuscawilla Park in Ocala. The small group of Mottled Ducks was spotted at one of the golf course rainfall retention ponds here in the development where I live. The Musvovies and the Pekins are domestic (farm) ducks but the others are all wild ducks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photo. Enjoy!
Muscovy Ducklings and Hen
Florida Mottled Ducks
Mottled Ducks are Florida’s ducks. I enjoy seeing these cousins of the popular Mallard Ducks. This small flock was happily exploring one of the horse ranch ponds we have been watching in the Northwestern part of Marion County, Florida, near Ocala. I have been seeing Anhinga, Great Egret, Sand Hill Crane, White Ibis, the Mottled Ducks, and a Great Blue Heron at this pond. Quite an interesting place for birding. I took these pictures on Sunday, November 9, 2014.
The Mottled Ducks are dabbling ducks and eat insects, and grains mostly. They tip their heads into the water of ponds, lakes, rivers, and marshy areas, to try to find food or they forage on the shorelines. I think they are interesting ducks and enjoy seeing them. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Happy Veteran’s Day. A big thank you to all who have served in the military.
These really are called Cattle Egrets. I thought I would show these smaller of the egrets with both gorgeous horses and the more familiar cattle. I snapped these pictures from the fences of both a horse farm and a cattle ranch. Both the horse farm and that cattle ranch are in an area Northwest of Ocala, in Marion County, Florida.
I was amused at seeing Cattle Egrets paying attention to the horses. The egrets flew along as the horses ran around their very large pasture. These egrets eat grains and insects so following along with these large animals makes it possible for them to find an easy meal. As far as I could see, the larger animals did not seem to mind. No, the egrets are not parasitical, but they do take advantage of what is a natural situation. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
There were two Great Blue Herons visible when I visited this privately maintained park in Marion County, Florida, on December 22, 2013. Each of these Great Blue Herons was hanging out in a different tree where the herons had built a stick nest for their rookery.
I think that these birds are ones I had photographed a couple of times earlier in the year there at this botanical park. The big pine trees are showing broken limbs from Summer thunderstorms, so It is no wonder that some of the herons are making new nests within the park! The nest shown in today’s post is likely one of the new ones.
I have been casually visiting this park and watching the herons since last March (2013) and have enjoyed watching these wading birds grow from gangly juveniles to nearly grown adults. Please click on the thumbnail images to see the larger picture.