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!
This young alligator was seen in The Villages, FL at a golf course pond. Alligators are common in Florida in fresh water marshes, ponds, and lakes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Double Crested Cormorants are frequently here on our ponds and lakes in the winter months here in The Villages, Florida. These birds enjoy the warm weather quite a lot and around ponds, lakes, rivers, and both fresh and salt water marsh-lands. Some of these cormorants are natives here but many are migrants from places north of us. I also have spotted Double-Crested Cormorants at marina docks on the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico at Cedar Key here in Florida.
These water birds dive for fish, frogs, baby alligators, tender soft-shelled turtles and larger aquatic insects and aquatic mollusks. At times, Double-crested Cormorants are mixed in near the White Pelicans here. The Double-Crested Cormorants are similar in looks to the slightly smaller Anhinga birds. The Anhingas have a straight bill while there is a downward hook to the tip of the bill on the Double-Crested Cormorants. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Diving for a bit of food
Male Boat-tailed Grackle
Eastern Bluebirds, a Boat-tailed Grackle, a Tufted Titmouse, a lovely pair of Sandhill Cranes and a lot of White Ibis, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Anhingas were all spotted here in The Villages, FL in the last couple of days.
I took the photo of the roosting birds on Morse Blvd. just below Rio Grande, on Monday 2/19/18, at twilight. That roosting area was active for years, and then was abandoned for the last year. This marshland is once again wet, so hundreds of wading birds such as ibis, egrets, herons, and anhingas, are back every night to rest!
I took the photos of the songbirds, here in my neighborhood. The weather has been fine so the birds have been out and about much more! The photograph of the Sandhill Cranes was taken just off of Morse Blvd. along CR 466 along the multi-modal path. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.
White Ibis Heading to the Roost
Female Eastern Bluebird
Tufted titmouse on a Palm
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!