The Sandhill Cranes suddenly appeared on Saturday night at twilight (12/14/17) at the little neighborhood Lake Paradise here in The Villages, Florida. I took these pictures at Swartz Park. There were twenty-one Sandhill Cranes in all. The Sandhill Cranes are enjoying the low water levels which make hunting for aquatic insects, small fish, crustaceans, and even aquatic plants, very easy. I believe these are migrating birds. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Sandhill Cranes arrived at the little neighborhood Paradise Lake here on Saturday night (12/14/17) at twilight. First I spotted two of the big birds and then the rest of the flock flew in. It was quite the sight! The lake is very low again so I think the Sandhill Cranes like the mudflat sandbars in the middle of the lake. I spotted twenty-one cranes at Swartz Park!
I believe this flock of Sandhill Cranes are migrating from up North. I think that we do have a few here that are native to Florida as well that may be among the bunch. One of the Sandhill Cranes is either a leucastic genetic mutation bird, or is a hybrid between the Whooping Crane and Sandhill Crane. That individual is a lot lighter in color than the other twenty cranes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Sandhill Cranes are here in my area for the Winter months. Some are even year-round residents. The big grey, white, beige, and red birds are most often spotted near grassy areas where there also is a pond, lake, or river nearby. They eat grass, grains, and occasionally snails, small fish, tadpoles and other small aquatic prey. Mostly, they are vegetarians. While observing the cranes, I also spotted a feisty Eastern Blue Jay, a pretty Palm Warbler and a female Northern Cardinal.
In The Villages, in Sumter County, FL, the Sandhill Cranes sometimes are seen around golf courses where they are admired and are not terribly inconvenient for the golfers (unlike the ‘gators). I took these pictures on December 30, 2015 at a spot fairly close to the Live Oaks Park near Sumter Square and Lake Sumter. I think someone had put bird seed down (not me). The big birds enjoyed an easy meal! I also saw the pair at a small pond near that same area. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Sand Hill Cranes were spotted en-mass in Gainesville, Florida at the University of Florida’s cattle research lot on Williston Road. There likely were between 50 and 100 Sand Hill Cranes along with a single Whooping Crane where I was there early in February, 2015.
These cranes love the fenced cattle pasture with water tubs and lots of grain and hay to feast on. The cranes fly off to roost in larger trees elsewhere in Gainesville and return to the pasture during the day. I believe these are migratory cranes but there may be some locals in the mix. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
A lone Whooping Crane was spotted resting among a large flock of Sand Hill Cranes at the University of Florida’s cattle pastures on Williston Rd. in Gainesville, Florida on February 7, 2015. This is a wonderful spot for the visiting cranes as there is plenty of food in the hay and grains fed to the cattle herd, and there is enough water for all. Whooping Cranes are pretty seldom seen here in Florida.
The cranes are migratory birds and visiting Gainesville for the Winter. The fenced cattle pastures seem good for the cranes as they are not bothered by people who may be walking around nearby (This pasture is across from residential neighborhoods). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!