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Posts tagged ‘marshes’

Coots, Common Gallinules “Moorhens”, and Purple Gallinules

Purple Gallinule

Coots, Common Moorhens, and Purple Gallinules are seen in The Villages, FL on occasion and mostly in the shallow marshes or prairies.  I often spot these birds at the Sharon Rose Wiechens Nature Preserve.  The Coots are migratory and usually seen in the Winter here and are often on Lake Sumter in large numbers.  The Moorhens and Purple Gallinules are year around resident birds with the Moorhens being a lot more commonly seen (pardon the pun).

The Coots are a charcoal black with a white face for both of the sexes.  The Purple Gallinules are a vivid blue and purple with a yellow blue and red bill.  The Common Gallinule or Moorhen, resembles the coot but has a red face and the females are brown with the red face.  The Coots, Common Moorhens and Purple Gallinules all are Rails.  These birds have a loud cry when alarmed and also sound a bit like a chicken clucking when in their normal communication mode.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.

Purple Gallinule

Male Common Moorhen or Common Gallinule

Hen Common Gallinule or Moorhen

 

Coot

Coots with a Moorhen

Coots

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Egrets in Central Florida

Great Egret

Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Cattle Egrets are the three types of egrets that are commonly seen here in Central Florida.  The largest is the Great Egret.  The smallest is the Snowy Egret with the Cattle Egret being the chunky middle-sized one of the three.  There is a Reddish Egret that is rarely seen and I have only once gotten a photo of that egret.  That Reddish Egret looks like a magenta version of the Little Blue Heron.  The smaller herons are actually egrets so it is no wonder they all have similar characteristics.

The Great Egret is one that sometimes goes away from the water to forage in shrubbery for snakes and lizards, mice and larger insects to eat.  The Cattle Egret likes to walk around pastures where horses or cattle are present.  You also occasionally see Cattle Egrets at ponds and lakes where they will drink and occasionally hunt.  The Snowy Egret has yellow legs and feet and a slender black bill and is mostly seen on the shore or in shallow water of ponds and lakes and marshes.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

Cattle Egret

Snowy Egret

Great Egret

Great Blue, Little Blue, & Tri-Colored Herons

Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is the most commonly seen of the herons here in The Villages, Florida.  I also frequently can spot Little Blue Herons and occasionally see the gorgeous medium-sized Trim-colored Heron.  I very rarely see a Green Heron, and have not seen any Black or Yellow Crowned Night Herons here in this community.

The herons all fish for fish, frogs, baby alligators, aquatic snails, crayfish, and occasionally larger aquatic insects, snails, and worms.  These are wading birds that are primarily found on the immediate shoreline of ponds, streams, lakes and in the shallows of both fresh and salt water marshes.

All of these herons are great at flight and some flocks do migrate.  One generally only sees a single bird or just a small number of these herons in one spot unless the flock is  gathering for a migration or is resting during travels.  Our bird population swells in the Winter months here in Florida.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

Little Blue Heron

Tri-Colored Heron

Little Blue Heron

 

 

 

Tri-Colored Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Misc. Birds in The Villages, FL

Mallard Ducks

Bald Eagles nesting in the high tension electric towers; Double-crested Cormorants perched on pilings in a pond; A Little Blue Heron on the hunt in a drainage ditch; a cute little Pied-billed Grebe; Ring-Necked and Lesser Scaup Ducks on a local golf pond; and a small flock of Mallard Ducks on the banks of Lake Paradise were all spotted last week in The Villages, Florida!

We have an amazing variety of birds here now.  We get many migratory birds down from the Midwest and other regions of North America.  Such fun to get out to our many ponds and small lakes to see what species has come to visit on any particular day!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

Bald Eagle near it’s nest

Little Blue Heron

Ring-Necked and Lesser Scaup Ducks

 

Cormorants

Pied-billed Grebe

Bald Eagle on it’s Nest

Juvenile Glossy Ibis

 

This young Glossy Ibis was spotted a couple of weeks ago feeding in the shallows of a small pond near a golf course in the Fenney neighborhood of The Villages, FL.  The adult Glossy Ibis is a rich mahogany brown tending more toward a burgundy sheen on its feathers, while the juvenile is a plain matt brown color with a few tiny streaks of lighter feathers.

The Glossy Ibis feed mostly on aquatic snails and worms with occasional aquatic insects as well.  There are a lot of tasty Apple Snails in our area which are a delight for these wading birds!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

 

These Herons Are Handsome Wading Birds!

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron

Great Blue Herons, a Green Heron, Little Blue Heron, a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, and a Tri-colored Heron are some of the most prominent Herons here in the United States.  I am happy to be able to see many of these birds here in Central Florida fairly often.  The Black-crowned Night Heron was spotted at Lake Apopka, and the others here in The Villages, FL.

These wading birds primarily eat fish, frogs, crayfish, aquatic snails, aquatic insects, salt water crabs, ducklings, bird eggs, and tender small turtles.  All are great at flying.

The herons walk along the shoreline of lakes, ponds, rivers, and even the ocean, and try to spear their prey for a meal.  The birds tend to feed early in the morning and from late afternoon into early evening hours. Herons tend to spend the day by themselves or in small numbers.  They roost in a larger flock in tall trees like Cypress, Pine and Oaks.   I love spending time outside observing the herons!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

Great Blue Heron

Tri-colored Heron

Green Heron

 

Great Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

A Somewhat Hidden American Purple Gallinule

This American Purple Gallinule was hunkered down among the reeds on the shoreline of Lake Griffin at the Bourlay Nature Park in Leesburg, Florida on April 19, 2018 at about 6:00pm.  I spotted the bird because it got spooked by the presence of an American Alligator circling around in the shallows of the lake near where the gallinule was hidden.

The Purple Gallinule that I photographed is a male and it sure is handsome with bright blue and purple feathers, a red-orange fleshy area over its beak, and bright yellow legs and feet.  The Purple Gallinule resembles the Common Moorhens and the Common Coots.  The Purple Gallinules often are spotted in shallow waters on the shoreline of lakes, striding around on top of lily pads and reed mats.  It has long thin toes which help it stay balanced on tippy floating leaves.  By the way, this is only the second Purple Gallinule I have ever spotted.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.  Enjoy!

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