This small flock of Hooded Merganser Ducks arrived at Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL, earlier last week. These are migrating ducks who are late Fall and Winter visitors to Florida. The male or drake duck is the more colorful of the pair. These ducks have a fold or hood of skin and feathers that the bird raises if alarmed or aroused. That is why the ducks are named the way they are.
Hooded Mergansers are diving ducks that eat fish, frogs, larger tadpoles, baby alligators and larger aquatic insects. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
These Northern Shoveler Ducks were gathered together in a tight circle at a little pond near the Polo Ridge neighborhood of The Villages, Florida on Feb. 18, 2017. The ducks were hunting for food. They circle together ’round and ’round creating a whirlpool in the pond which traps their food and they also dip their big bills into the water to catch their food and filter it with their bill. The Shovelers eat aquatic plants, and aquatic snails, small aquatic insects and small aquatic animals such as frogs, tadpoles and tiny fish. Mostly they are plant eating ducks. The Northern Shoveler is a “Dabbling duck”.
The Northern Shoveler drakes here were mostly tried-colored (blueish-black, white and rusty brown) and the hens were brown and black (the hens resemble Black Duck or Mallard hens). The main distinctive feature about these ducks is their bill. The Northern Shoveler’s bill is huge and flared at the tip – it does look like a shovel! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Mallard Ducks (males)
Mallards, Black-bellied Whistlers, Ring-necked Ducks and Hooded Mergansers were all visitors here at the little Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL this last two weeks. I took most of the pictures on December 11, 2016.
The Ring-necked Ducks and Hooded Mergansers are both diving ducks that eat fish, frogs, turtles, and larger aquatic insects.
The Whistlers and Mallards (also those Mottled Ducks around) eat both fish and plants. They are tipping ducks that are most often seen with their tails up and heads down in the water when feeding in the water. Mallards (and Mottled Ducks) and The Whistling Ducks seldom totally submerge. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy! A reminder – the Black-bellied Whistling Duck juveniles have the bluish bill and feet while the adult ducks have pink bills and feet. I snapped these pictures on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016 on Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL.
Ring-necked Ducks have arrived here in a small flock this past week. I saw about ten of the black and white tuxedo-colored drakes and probably four hens which are brown and tan. The males look quite a lot like the Lesser or Greater Scaup Ducks so one has to look at the bill carefully to correctly identify which ducks one is seeing.
I took these pictures on Nov. 13, 2016 at Swartz Park on Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL. By the way, I happily saw a few White Pelicans and some Coots on one of our little lakes nearby the other day. More and more migratory birds are showing up for their annual Winter visit. I will take a few pictures and share them here on the blog in coming days. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version. Enjoy!
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are such cute ducks that I just had to post a few new pictures that I took in the last week or so. I really enjoy seeing the “Whistlers” here in The Villages, Florida, in the various little lakes and ponds.
There are several older juveniles in the Paradise Lake flock that amuse me. These teenaged ducks fly around an awful lot. Juvenile whistlers have the bluish bill and feet while adult Black-bellied Whistling Ducks have a pink bill and feet. The adults are patient and basically paddle or sit contentedly on the shore near the water.
We are seeing more and more ducks here. I even spotted a hen Bufflehead the other day! So glad! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
Likely a hybrid Florida Mottled and Mallard Duck
These ducks are Florida Mottled Ducks and hybrid Mallard/Fl Mottled Ducks. I took these pictures on Sept. 7, 2016 at a small private park lake, Lake Paradise, located in The Villages, FL. I took these pictures at Swartz Park and also at Paradise Park. Many times in the late afternoon or early evening, I see ducks at the tiny Swartz Park, on the gazebo/parking lot side. By the way, there sometimes are Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (Whistlers) at that location.
Florida Mottled Ducks and Mallards both are dabbing ducks. They tip their heads down into the water while they search the shallows of lakes, streams, and ponds for various types of aquatic insects and small aquatic animals. These ducks also enjoy eating grain.
The male or drake Mottled Duck has a bright yellow bill. Both genders of the Florida Mottled Duck resemble a hen Black Duck or a hen Mallard a bit. The Florida Mottled Ducks and Mallard Ducks often will interbreed so one can see a hybrid which resembles the Mallard, but is not quite fully Mallard in looks. I always enjoy watching ducks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version. Enjoy!