Canada Geese and their goslings, Anhingas, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, hybrid Mallard Ducks, Grey Squirrels, a medium-sized turtle, and a Great Blue Heron were all spotted at twilight on Saturday at Lake Paradise in The Villages, Florida.
You may be able to spot the goslings in one photo I took. That family of geese was on the opposite far shoreline so I had to edit the picture quite a bit to get a good look at the fluff-ball babies. There also were a few Black-bellied Whistling Ducks beside the proud mother and father geese. Right now it is quite around here due to nesting season and very windy weather. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
These two Great Blue Herons were spotted on Saturday here in The Villages, FL at two different small ponds. The first Great Blue Heron was seen on the shoreline of a tiny almost dry pond near the Hacienda executive golf course here. There was a small thin stream of water almost like a creek flowing at the bottom of the basin. I think the heron was trying for a tasty lizard or snake or possibly a few tadpoles in a puddle. This bird was pretty close to the multi-modal golf cart path so I noticed the heron right away.
The other heron was fishing on the shore of a tiny park pond at the Silver Lake Community Center park a few blocks away from Lake Paradise. I did see the Great Blue Heron take a very short low flight to another spot where it probably felt the fish were headed. These park ponds mainly have smaller fish, frogs, and small turtles in them. I left before I was able to see the bird catch anything. Always fun to watch these Great Blue Herons! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
I spotted White Ibises at two parks this last week here in The Villages. Actually, these wading birds are pretty commonly seen in neighborhoods and at local ponds and lakes. The small flocks were at Paradise Park and Lake Mira-mar in the golf cart parking areas near the lakes.
Ibises at the Lake Mira-mar parking lot are known to be champion beggars! They wait for treats from well-meaning tourists/grandkids who feed them bread and cereal as if they are park ducks (people should not feed exotic wild birds). These are really good birds as they eat insects and are charming to watch. By the way, the one in the photo that is partially brown is an older juvenile. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Common Cormorants and Anhingas are both similar-looking semi-tropical water birds. They fly well, and also paddle around lakes, ponds, and rivers. The Common Cormorants also can frequently be found in salt water marshes or along the shore of the ocean. Both birds eat fish, aquatic snails, worms, frogs, tadpoles, crayfish, and small turtles. The Common Cormorants also eat some shellfish as well as small crabs.
One distinct physical difference between these birds is that the Anhinga has a straight strong bill that is sword-like. The Common Cormorants also have a sturdy bill but it has a slight downward hook at its tip. Both birds often can be seen with their wings outspread to dry. Both also roost in the trees. I took these pictures last week here in my area at two smaller lakes and at a pond. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
These Carolina Chickadees came to the bird feeder here yesterday in both the morning and afternoon. They were here with the Tufted Titmice, Northern Cardinals, House Finches, and Mourning Doves. I sure do think that they are cute! The Carolina Chickadee and its cousin the Black-capped Chickadee are so similar in looks, it is really hard to tell the two apart. The Carolina is ever-so-slightly larger and has a larger black bib on the upper chest and neck. Otherwise, they are the same.
The Carolina and Black-capped Chickadees eat insects, seeds, small fruits, and small pieces of nuts. They love to pull-out the Black Oil Sunflower Seeds out of the feeder and leave the Millet. Their call is a sound like their name that is repeated six or seven times and is soft-sounding. I took these snap-shots yesterday, Nov. 19, 2012 from my yard and have cropped them so you can see what the tiny birds look like in better detail. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger snap-shot. Enjoy!
There have been a few male House Finches here that are just exceptionally handsome in their Salmon-red colored breeding season feathers. Soon the red will become much duller but for now, wow, are these boys handsome! The females are similar without the red over-tones. These finches have been enjoying their bird seed treats of Millet quite a lot. They also enjoy Niger or Nyger Thistle seeds which I do not have in my feeder. I took these pictures in my yard yesterday afternoon (Nov. 10, 2012). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
The Canada Geese were hare on Sunday morning. The geese were probably the same ones that were hatched here on May 2, 2012. They were grazing on the new grass around the pond area. They don’t often come up around the house area. When they spotted me on the porch, they marched right down into the water and padded off to the other shore. The Canada Geese like grass, seeds, grains, and fruits to eat. They also occasionally eat aquatic plants. This group of geese spends time both here and at the nearby little private lake across the street and down the hill. I took these pictures on Nov. 4, 2012 in my yard. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger pictures. Enjoy!
This House Finch is a female. She likes the Millet Seed that I put in the bird feeder. House Finch females or hens, are a medium-brown with a lighter more ivory chest that is streaked with brown. The bird has a wedge-shaped beak or bill. She is a seed eater and will also eat small fruits. As her name says, she likes staying around houses, especially porches.
The House Finches here will fly under the porch here into the exposed crawl spaces.I think that they do this to avoid Hawks and also to stay out of the cold wind. Smart birds. The males look like the females but have a Salmon red color on their heads, and throats during the nesting season. I believe that these birds will stay in this area all Winter. I took these pictures in my yard yesterday, November 4, 2012. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
The Northern Mockingbird has been a great mimic of Red-headed Woodpecker here. I have been fooled a few times thinking I was hearing a Red-headed Woodpecker or a Red-bellied Woodpecker or even a Northern Yellow-shafted Flicker Woodpecker! Now I know why. Oh the Woodpecker and the Mockingbird should be friends (to paraphrase and borrow from the great musical play, “Oklahoma” by Rogers and Hammerstein). Ha!
I was out with the camera on Sunday, August 5, 2012 and saw this juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker up on the dead top of one of the Oak Trees next to the pond here. There also was a Northern Mockingbird up near the Woodpecker. Both seemed busy working on finding insects in the tree. I think that the youngster just was inexperienced and did not mind the presence of that Mockingbird. My guess anyway. Note that the juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker actually has a dark brown head. They do not get that scarlet red color until adulthood. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
This Great Blue Heron is one of a pair that are resident here at the little farm pond. There are plenty of fish and other aquatic animals plus tasty larger insects to keep the herons happy here. I see the Great Blue Herons nearly every day now. I saw this one on July 30, 2012 and took its picture in mid-afternoon. It was on this side of the pond. The cows are closer to the water since it has been hot so the herons hang out on this side of the pond to avoid the wading cattle. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!