Mallard Ducks are commonly found here on ponds and lakes. They are handsome social ducks but are not highly appreciated here in Florida as they interbreed with the native Mottled Ducks and create hybrids. I have spotted these Mallard/Mottled Duck hybrids here.
One of the main characteristics of the Mallard Ducks is their loud quacking. they are very vocal and call when flocking up, when trying to attract a female mate, and when alarmed. These ducks have a true strong quack, quack, quack, unlike several other ducks that whistle, chirp or lightly quack.
The males have blue-green feathers on the top of their head and have a streaky tan-colored body with blue and white wing bars. They also have orange feet and a yellow-green bill. The hens are a streaky tan also with the blue and white wing bars, orange feet and yellow-green bill.
Please click on the the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Fenney Springs and the Fenney Neighborhood of The Villages, FL has a variety of wildlife! Sandhill Cranes, a Glossy Ibis, a Snowy Egret, a Great Egret, a tiny Palm Warbler, an Anhinga bird, several freshwater turtles, a Great Blue Heron, and several shorebirds were all recently spotted in the Fenney Springs area and Hammock Golf Course (Red Fox and Grey Fox courses) area ponds and springs. I have read the area also is occasionally home to River Otters and an Alligator or two.
The Nature Walk is a short walk along a boardwalk over the Fenney Springs itself. The walk has scenic views of the little creek and the bubbling springs ponds. I usually see several turtles and occasionally a wading bird and even a few songbirds.
The golf course is close to the Fenney Springs and the main highway entrance into the various new neighborhoods here in The Villages, FL. The shallow pond where I saw the Glossy Ibis, the egrets, and shorebirds is to the right side of the entrance road for the Hammock Red Fox and Grey Fox golf courses close to the parking lot for the courses. I think it is amazing that I saw all of these animals and birds in such a small area of a neighborhood all on the same afternoon! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A pair of Sandhill Cranes was seen on the Arnold Palmer Legends golf course off of CR 466 near Morse Blvd. in The Villages, FL on Friday. These birds appear to be yearlings and maybe are a couple. The big birds are often spotted on the edges of golf courses here.
I was excited to see the cranes near the fence next to the multi-modal trail where we were driving in the golf cart. It certainly made it easy to get the snap-shots of the cranes. By the way, the grasses here in our area are going dormant due to the season and that is why many lawns are looking a lot more brown these days. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Snowy Egrets are here in The Villages, FL, all year around. There also are a number of migratory Snowies here during the winter months. These small egrets fish in the ponds and lakes for smaller fish, frogs, baby alligators, aquatic insects and in the shoreline grasses for small lizards and snakes.
The Snowy Egrets are currently in their long plush breeding plumage. Snowy Egrets have a black bill, yellowish-green legs and bright yellow feet. They are very beautiful wading birds! I am always glad to see the Snowies but they are shy birds and pretty hard to photograph unless one is fairly far away. By the way, our cold weather (and I have a cold) has kept me at home more this past week than I had planned so these photos are those I had taken earlier in the year. I hope to get out soon and take a bunch of pictures here at our local lakes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
White Pelicans are Winter visitors here in The Villages, Florida. We love seeing the large flocks that appear around the beginning of December and stay through February and sometimes, March. We have a lot of small lakes brimming with fish, frogs, small turtles, baby alligators and larger aquatic insects for the big birds to dine on.
The pelicans are accompanied by Double Crested Cormorants which dive and herd the fish to help both species catch their meals.
I also noted a number of beautiful Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets both in their breeding plumage, were with the pelicans and cormorants. All these birds were sunning themselves on the shoreline of the lovely El Santiago golf course pond (on Enrique Dr.) yesterday morning. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
This pair of Egyptian Geese was spotted up on the shoreline of the Freedom Pointe Lake in The Villages near the parking lot area beside the assisted living housing complex building.
The Egyptian Geese are native to Africa and were brought here to the USA to be golf course pets in some spots (they migrated here to the Villages from elsewhere). These geese are part shell-duck and part goose. They are attractive birds.
Egyptian Geese now are resident waterfowl here in The Villages but are not in big numbers here. They eat grasses grains and seeds and behave in a similar manner to the Canada Geese. These geese are rust colored with cream and black and are between a duck and a goose in size. The Egyptian Geese seem quite shy. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy! P.S. I have not seen that Roseate Spoonbill here since my Sunday morning sighting.
Wood Storks have been here in The Villages, FL, for about a month in larger numbers. A few days ago, I spotted seven of the large white and black birds at Lake Paradise. The big birds mostly are seen standing still or in flight. This is the second instance where I have seen Wood Storks laying on the ground resting. I noted that this behavior is similar to that seen in the White Ibis. I found it interesting.
The Wood Storks mostly fish by putting their large hard scoop-like bill into the mud and sucking in snails, larger insects, worms, tadpoles, frogs and small fish. I have read that some Wood Storks travel miles and miles from their tree roost to search for food. Amazing! I really enjoy seeing these birds! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!