Sandhill Cranes; Great Egrets; Great Blue Herons; White Pelicans; Mallard Ducks; Canada Geese; and Anhingas have all been regularly spotted each Winter, here on our small ponds and lakes in The Villages, Florida. It is always a treat to go out and do a bit of bird watching! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Canada Goose, Mallard Ducks, Great Egret
Great Blue Heron
Migratory ducks, pelicans, cormorants, cranes and more have been spotted here in The Villages, FL, in the last several weeks. So exciting to drive a few miles and visit several ponds teeming with wildlife! Most of our small ponds, lakes, and prairie marshes, have at least a few exotic birds hanging out along the shoreline, so chances are great you will have a successful outing while bird watching! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Northern Shoveler Ducks
Double-crestedCormorants, egrets, white Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Wood Storks
American White Pelicans migrate South and visit our ponds and lakes here in The Villages, Florida every year in the Winter months (We do have about 10 White Pelicans that stay all year-long now). The two main places in the Northern end of The Villages to spot the pelicans are The Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course and Freedom Pointe Lakes.
Both Lopez Golf and Freedom Pointe lake locations have quite a few pelicans although sometimes pelicans do fly between these areas. Always a fun sight to see the young adult pelicans massed! Sometimes there are large groups of accompanying Double-crested Cormorants, too! I took these photographs last week here in The Villages. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
White Pelicans have been spotted in more places here in The Villages, Florida. I spotted about twenty White Pelicans at the Freedom Pointe Lake on El Camino Real, where the flocks often come in Winter months (I call it Pelican Pointe and Cormorant Corner). I also have seen a few at the Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course driving range pond.
The White Pelicans have flown from the Midwestern states and are hungry. White Pelicans primarily dine on fish and frogs with occasional small tender turtles. Often the other water birds such as Double-crested Cormorants or even Anhingas will help with the fishing by encircling the school of fish to be gulped by the pelicans with enough for all. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
White Pelicans are for the most part, Winter visitors here in The Villages, Florida. A large flock was seen at the Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course pond. The nice thing is that the pond is very visible from the multi-modal pathway that runs through the center of the courses at Nancy Lopez Legacy.
The White Pelicans feed on fish, frogs, and small turtles. They work as a team and circle their prey before grabbing the food with their huge bills. Often the Double-crested Cormorants join the pelicans in hunts as both species eat the same food.
The flocks of White Pelicans will stay here throughout the Winter months before migrating back up to their Summer homes in the Midwest. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
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!
White Pelicans are Winter visitors here in The Villages, Florida. We love seeing the large flocks that appear around the beginning of December and stay through February and sometimes, March. We have a lot of small lakes brimming with fish, frogs, small turtles, baby alligators and larger aquatic insects for the big birds to dine on.
The pelicans are accompanied by Double Crested Cormorants which dive and herd the fish to help both species catch their meals.
I also noted a number of beautiful Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets both in their breeding plumage, were with the pelicans and cormorants. All these birds were sunning themselves on the shoreline of the lovely El Santiago golf course pond (on Enrique Dr.) yesterday morning. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Flocks of Sandhill Cranes, White Pelicans and Wood Storks have recently visited our little neighborhood park lake (Paradise Lake) here in The Villages, FL. Because we have had so little rainfall, the lake has rapidly been shrinking and the fishing seems to be the big draw for the migratory wading and water birds!
It was quite funny for me yesterday to shoot a round of archery here, while a large group of White Pelicans flew right over the lake-side archery range! A most pleasant distraction for sure.
I drive past Swartz Park on my way home from my daily archery practice so I get to notice when there are large gatherings of the wading or water birds on the lake. I took these pictures on December 21, and Dec. 22, 2016. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy! I want to wish all a Merry Christmas! I will continue the second part of this three part series on Monday.
Wood Storks; a Great Blue Heron; Great Egrets; Snowy Egrets; Double-crested Cormorants; Pied-billed Grebes; a Little Blue Heron and a small flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were all vying for a meal of tasty fish, tadpoles, frogs, small turtles; or larger aquatic insects in the lovely little Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL on Sunday, October 23, 2016.
This is quite an unusual sight to find so many varieties and numbers of wading birds all in one spot. Most of these birds are migrating and are just stopping over to rest in the small welcoming lake.
In these feeding frenzies, I have seen it be common for the herons, egrets, and storks to follow what is happening with the cormorants in the water. By the way, later in the day, I also saw a Tri-colored Heron at Swartz Park.
I took these pictures from Paradise Park and Swartz Park on the small private residential lake. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Wood Storks, Snowy Egret
White Pelicans, a Sandhill Crane, Northern Shoveler Ducks, a Great Egret, Double Crested Cormorants and Lesser Yellowlegs all joined the mob of Seagulls in the fray trying to find a lunch meal at a local golf course water hazard pond. I estimate that there were well over one hundred White Pelicans in two big groups there in the large pond. That Sandhill Crane landed right in front of a home with statues of large wading birds! How fun!
Additionally, I spotted a male Boat-tailed Grackle perched on the roof of our car! I took these pictures on January 17, 2016 at the Belle Glade Golf Course pond in The Villages, Florida. I was there at the pond on a shoreline knoll, observing for about twenty minutes, and had such a great time seeing all the action! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!