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
This Little Blue Heron was spotted at a small pond near Morse and CR-466 in The Villages, FL. I also saw two Tri-colored Herons on Lake Paradise also in The Villages. Both types of these herons are occasionally seen here in The Villages on several lakes and ponds here. I believe the Little Blue Heron is one that probably lives in the medium-sized nearby Lake Sumter and the freshwater marshlands around that lake. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Tri-colored Heron with Great Egret
Little Blue Heron
These Great Egrets were spotted in The Villages, Florida at El Santiago Golf Pond, Silver Lake Recreation Center Pond, and Lake Paradise near Schwartz Park and Boone Park. I took these pictures this past weekend. Some of the areas are harder to get to still due to minor flooding, but more areas are opening up once again.
The Great Egrets eat small fish, frogs, turtles, baby alligators, mice, lizards, baby birds, and snakes (and other small critters). They fish with their long sharp yellow bills and spear their prey. These birds are mostly wading birds but they do hunt on land in shrubbery and on lawns at times. Great Egrets are white with yellow bills, black legs and black feet. They are among the tallest of the egrets. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
At El Santiago Golf Course Pond, The Villages, FL
At Mallory Hill Golf Course Pond, The Villages, FL
Great Blue Herons, that is! Ha! I have spotted a few Great Blue Herons around the community’s ponds in the last few days and have enjoyed photographing these rather majestic wading birds.
The Great Blue Herons eat fish, frogs, turtles, baby alligators, snails, worms, mice, small snakes, lizards, and larger insects. We have had a lot of rain this past week, so the hunting for worms in lawns around the lakes and ponds is particularly easy for the wading birds at the moment. By the way, it is pretty unusual to see a Great Blue Heron on a lawn other than immediately at water’s edge. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Near Lake Sumter Landing, The Villages, FL
At Schwartz Park on Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL
Great Blue Heron
Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Sandhill Cranes, a Limpkin, a few Wood Storks, and a lot of White Ibis, and Snowy Egrets (not pictured), were all spotted here in The Villages, Florida last month, May, 2017.
We often spot the egrets herons and ibis, but the cranes, wood storks, glossy ibis, and limpkin, are only spotted during certain months of the year (Sandhill Cranes being the most easily seen of this particular group of wading birds). We also get to see Tri-colored Herons and Little Blue Herons on occasion.
These larger wading birds enjoy the many small and medium-sized lakes here in our community where the food is usually abundant. We are recovering from a recent drought so the lakes happily are refilling with recent rains.
Most of these big birds eat aquatic snails, frogs, worms, and small fish. Some of the birds such as Sandhill Cranes also eat grains and seeds. I always enjoy getting out and spotting both songbirds and these big beauties! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
White Pelicans, Great Egret
A Pied-billed Grebe
The Sharon Wiechens Nature Preserve in The Villages is a community treasure of a place! I really enjoy visiting this lake-side preserve here. I made a short trip there yesterday afternoon and saw quite a few different birds. I spotted two Southern Bald Eagles; a Pied Billed Grebe; a flying hen Mallard Duck; a Great Egret; a Glossy Ibis; a nesting Moorhen; and a few Boat-tailed Grackles.
I also saw a few Common Coots there at the preserve. Usually I spot something different when we visit each time. There is a fantastic boardwalk deck overlook which loops around into the lake itself over the shallow marsh. I also occasionally go up onto the wooden observation deck structure for a quick look around. I did not see any Sherman’s Fox Squirrels this trip. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A Great Egret
Male Boat-tailed Grackles
A Glossy Ibis
Southern Bald Eagles (From a distance)
A Hen Mallard
Common Moorhen on its Nest
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Herons, Tri-colored Herons, and Little Blue Herons are the most commonly seen herons here in The Villages, Florida. The Great Blue Heron is the most frequently seen, followed by the Little Blue Heron. I think I have only seen one Green Heron here and that was a year ago.
All of these herons are wading birds that shuffle along in the shallows of the lakes and ponds to spear fish, frogs, or turtles with their long sharp bills. They also eat larger insects, small lizards, and large aquatic insects or snails.
The herons roost up in tall trees. Many prefer the Cypress Trees here. Some also will roost in the medium-sized trees where there also are Ibis or Egrets. We used to have a large area of roosts on Morse Blvd. (I had photographed it and posted about it many months ago) but that area seems out of favor with the birds in recent months. I don’t know the reason for the big move. It could be a case of too much threat from coyotes or other predators. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of the photo.
Little Blue Heron