Great Blue Heron
A couple of days ago at dusk, I went to the Sharon Rose Wiechens Nature Preserve here in The Villages, Florida. It was the first time I have been to the preserve since Hurricane Irma. Not much has changed except for one large tree being cut down.
While at the preserve I spotted Common Coots, a few Common Moorhens, a few Boat-tailed Grackles, a few Red-winged Blackbirds, and toward the end of our visit, a pair of Sandhill Cranes, a Great Blue Heron , and a flock of ducks that suddenly appeared way up in the sky flying Northward. The preserve is a lovely spot and I am glad to have been there again. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A Common Coot
Male Red-winged Blackbird
A male Common Moorhen
A Flock of Ducks
A Pair of Common Moorhens
Both the Common Moorhens and the Common Coots are here in The Villages, FL during the winter months. We also have moorhens here all year long but do have many more around in the winter.
Common Moorhens show different coloring between the genders while mostly the coots are just a charcoal black. Moorhen drakes are also charcoal while the hens are a brown color. Moorhens have a fleshy red growth on their faces and the coots have a white growth. Both types are members of the Rail family of water birds. Both look like a cross between a chicken and a duck. Moorhens and coots live in marshes, lakes, ponds, and slow streams. The coots and moorhens are good at flight. The coots form “Rafts” which are huge numbers of birds paddling together on a body of water. Coots are more flock birds while the Moorhens are often in pairs or small groups. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
A Raft of Common Coots
This Common Moorhen, a member of the Rail family of birds and a cousin to its almost look-alike, the Coot, was spotted at the Wal-Mart pond on CR-466, in The Villages, Florida last week.
Common Moorhens live happily in ponds, on the shorelines of lakes, and also in marshes. Occasionally they are also on rivers. These duck-like birds eat plants. They are attractive and harmless. The hens (I did not see any that day) are a brown color but similar in looks to the drakes, which are charcoal dark grey and white with a red patch above their bill or beak. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A Young Alligator
Little Blue Heron
Alligators, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Bufflehead Duck, Mallard Ducks, Common Moorhens, Anhingas, Pied-billed Grebe, and Common Coots all were spotted at two small ponds right next to a small shopping center area near The Villages, Florida on Highway 466. Yes, right next to the Walmart! I took these pictures yesterday afternoon (Jan. 14, 2016). I have taken pictures at these ponds several different times in the last year. There often is wildlife to be seen there.
I am amazed at how well wildlife copes with all the new development. I am glad these wetlands, though tiny, were saved! I spotted three Alligators in the larger of the two ponds by the way and one of those was decent sized! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
Drake Mallard Ducks
Great Blue Heron
Pair of Mallard Ducks
Drake (male) Bufflehead Duck
Common Moorhens and Common Coots are both members of the Rail family of birds. Both of these duck-like birds were spotted a few days ago happily paddling around the marshy shallows of a medium-sized lake in a new nature preserve, the Sharon Rose Weichens Preserve, which has opened at The Villages, Florida. This preserve is also where I photographed the Sherman Fox Squirrels.
The Moorhens and Coots mostly eat vegetation but also will eat insects, worms, and snails. They really are quite good at flying as well as walking on land (but generally only walk near the shore). These birds are often preyed-upon by eagles and hawks. Both genders of Common Coots look-alike, but the hen Common Moorhen is brown rather than the black of the drake Common Moorhen. I am always happy to see the coots and moorhens! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture.
Cormorants, Great Blue Herons, a Limpkin, Turtles, a Little Blue Heron, and Moorhens were all active and easily spotted at the Haynes Creek Canal in Lake County, Florida near Eustis, Mt. Dora and Tavares. This creek has a canal portion with a lock. It was a lot of fun to go through the lock. This is called the Burrell Lock and Dam. It is between Lake Garnett and Lake Eustis. It may be best to inquire ahead about open hours and boat sizes if desiring to transit this lock.
This canal is just teaming with wildlife! I have also been told that the fishing is good here as well. Haynes Creek has a lot of Water Lilies and aquatic plants. The area is mostly wilderness but once in a while there are homes or a small marina, along the creek. I took these pictures on Friday, April 25, 2014. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!