Black Bellied Whistling Ducks make their home at several local ponds and lakes here in The Villages, Florida. These lovely brown and tan ducks with pink bills and feet are seen waddling around the grassy banks feeding on worms, grubs, and seeds. These ducks also feed on aquatic insects, smaller tadpoles and some aquatic snails.
The “Whistlers” are similar to the Mallards and Mottled Ducks in their feeding habits. They tip their heads into the water to find food in the shallows and mud. I really enjoy seeing the ducks and hearing their whistles – they do not quack. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Migratory and native ducks alike are seen here in The Villages, Florida during the Winter months. Lesser Scaups, Hooded Mergansers, Ring-necked Ducks, Northern Shovelers, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Mallards, and even farm ducks like the Muscovy Ducks and Tufted Ducks are here. Occasionally seen also are the Green-winged Teal, Redhead, Bufflehead, and Widgeons. I have yet to get a good photo of those breeds.
We have a lot of small lakes and golf ponds in our lovely community where the ducks happily forage for their meals. The Diving Ducks are a lot more wary of people. The Mallards, Mottled Ducks, Muscovy and Tufted Ducks are happy on the shoreline as well as in the water. The other breeds are mostly on or in the water day and night. The diving ducks are mostly meat-eaters and the dabblers are pretty happy with seeds, plants, insects, worms, tadpoles, and tiny fish.
It is quite fun to see the big variety of ducks here in the Winter season! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
This Little Blue Heron and a pair of Mallard Ducks were spotted on the shore of a small pond in the Buffalo Plaza shopping area next to the NYPD Pizza restaurant on CR 466 in The Villages, FL on Friday at twilight. I have sometimes seen a Little Blue Heron at this pond at times in the past during the Winter months. There also was a camera shy Common Moorhen at the pond.
I have photographed birds at the pond before but it has been quite a while since I have seen much there. I did check out the larger pond just to the Northeast on the Eastern side of the Walmart parking lot but did not see anything there other than a Great Egret. Recently there has been some landscaping with the big grasses and reeds having been cut so perhaps that has affected the desirability of the pond for the big birds. I also did not see any alligators. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Ring-necked Ducks, a Little Blue Heron, a beautiful Purple Gallinule, a few Common Moorhens, several Pied-billed Grebes, an Anhinga, and a Common Coot were spotted at the lovely gem of a nature preserve, the Sharon Rose Wiechens Nature Preserve here in The Villages, Florida on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018.
I often see the Common Moorhens and in season coots at this preserve. Less commonly seen are the Ring-Necked Ducks (all hens), the grebes, and the Little Blue Heron. I also frequently see Osprey in the area as the lake is a medium-sized one with lots of wildlife and fish. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that particular photo. Enjoy!
Hen Ring-necked Ducks
Hen Ring-necked Ducks
Little Blue Heron
Northern Shoveler Ducks
Northern Shoveler Ducks; Hooded Merganser Ducks; and Lesser Scaup Ducks are here in The Villages, FL on various small lakes and ponds. It is so much fun to see our Winter visitors!
The Scaups and Northern Shovelers mostly eat aquatic vegetation, seeds and grains as they are dabbling or tipping ducks. These ducks tip their head down into the water to feed on aquatic plants. The Hooded Mergansers dive under the water to catch fish frogs, tadpoles, crayfish, aquatic worms, and tender small frogs. The Hooded Mergansers mostly paddle or float on the water when not hunting, while some of the other ducks rest on the immediate shoreline during some part of the day.
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Hooded Merganser Ducks
Lesser Scaup Ducks, (drakes in black & white)
Lesser Scaups, Hooded Mergansers and a Double-crested Cormorant
I spotted these Black-bellied Whistling Ducks here in The Villages, FL, on Monday afternoon. 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 these photographs of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL, that I took yesterday. Enjoy!
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!