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!
During the past couple of days we have been seeing a big flock of Cedar Waxwings here in our neighborhood. It is likely that there are several hundred birds in the flock. These birds slightly resemble the Tufted Titmice in that they have a top-knot but they are larger, are a rosy beige with yellow, white and black markings. They Cedar Waxwings also have the appearance of a faint smokey-black eye mask. I really like these cuties!
The Cedar Waxwings like eating berries (such as the Juniper berries seen in some of these photographs) and small nuts. They also eat insects but generally are seed-eaters. They can sometimes become drunk from eating fermenting berries! What a thing! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger photo. Enjoy!
Sand Hill Cranes are both migratory and resident birds here in Florida. I recently saw several Sand Hill Cranes in the fresh water marshy grasslands of the Paynes Prairie State Park near Gainesville, Florida. These huge light grey birds walk upright while browsing the grasslands for grains, worms, and snails. These handsome birds have a red patch above their bill, and up between their eyes.
Sand Hill Cranes are really neat to see when they are flying. I had a pair fly right overhead when I was at the park. In one photo I took, a pair of Sand Hill Cranes is looking up. That happened right when a hawk flew by. There were several hawks around that day. I took these pictures on December 16, 2013. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!