I photographed these two Wood Storks in The Villages, Florida, this last Sunday. One of the two storks was walking off toward a small pond at a country club just off Buena Vista Blvd. near El Camino, while the other was spotted about a mile away on the shoreline of the El Santiago golf course pond on Enrique Drive.
Wood Storks have been around this community in recent weeks. I think we do see them quite a bit in July, and also in the Spring months here.
The big white and black birds often fly many miles from their nest rookeries to find food. They prefer small fish, crayfish, snails, aquatic worms, smaller turtles, and baby alligators.
I have found the demeanor of Wood Storks to be quite placid and easy-going but it is likely they are just resting a bit when I happen by. I always give the birds quite a lot of space so as to not stress them while I observe or photograph them.
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
At El Santiago Golf Course Pond, The Villages, FL
At Mallory Hill Golf Course Pond, The Villages, FL
Great Blue Herons, that is! Ha! I have spotted a few Great Blue Herons around the community’s ponds in the last few days and have enjoyed photographing these rather majestic wading birds.
The Great Blue Herons eat fish, frogs, turtles, baby alligators, snails, worms, mice, small snakes, lizards, and larger insects. We have had a lot of rain this past week, so the hunting for worms in lawns around the lakes and ponds is particularly easy for the wading birds at the moment. By the way, it is pretty unusual to see a Great Blue Heron on a lawn other than immediately at water’s edge. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Near Lake Sumter Landing, The Villages, FL
At Schwartz Park on Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL
This group of Sandhill Cranes was spotted a few weeks ago, on the Arnold Palmer Legends golf course in The Villages, FL. All in all, I spotted eleven Sandhill Cranes that day in four different places. Most of these eleven cranes were browsing for food in the grassy areas on the apron of a golf course near a paved golf cart (multi-modal) path. The smaller of the cranes by the way, is a juvenile, called a “Colt”.
Sandhill Cranes mostly eat larger insects, snails, worms, grains and seeds, small frogs, small fish and they will also nibble on grasses and certain plants.
We seem to have a stable group of native Sandhill Cranes here in The Villages area. I really enjoy seeing these large rather majestic birds. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Egyptian Geese are apparently making a home for themselves here in the United States. I have occasionally spotted pairs or small groups of these African immigrant geese during the last couple of years.
I also recently saw a photo from Texas where a pair of Egyptian Geese were strolling around a golf course. I think that may have been the idea of bringing these geese here from Africa. The Egyptian Geese are lovely and seem to have an OK temperament. I took these pictures on Lake Paradise on May 9, 2017. I also earlier spotted Egyptian Geese at the lake behind Freedom Pointe in The Villages, where there were a family of these geese, but that was about two months back. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.
This Tri Colored Heron frequents the pond next to the Wal-Mart parking lot on CR 466 in Buffalo Ridge in The Villages, FL. I have probably photographed this bird before on a previous visit.
The Tri Colored Heron is a hunter of fish, frogs, small tender turtles, and also aquatic snails, worms, large insects, shoreline mice, lizards, and small snakes on shore. It spears the prey with its sharp stiff bill.
On this occasion, I saw the Tri Colored Heron, a few ducks including a lone drake Hooded Merganser, a Common Moorhen, and a pretty little Pied Billed Grebe. No alligators were spotted. I think the two small ‘gators I had seen a few months ago had been relocated. One thing I will add: If you do visit the pond, be aware that there are biting ants on the shore – I remembered and did not get any bites this last time there. In other words, watch not only for the ‘gators but for the ants! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Snowy Egrets are shorter than the Great Egrets. The Snowy Egrets have a black bill, blackish green legs and mustard yellow ankles and feet. The Snowy Egrets have billowy white feathers during their courtship and breeding season.
The Snowy Egrets are very beautiful big wading birds! These birds eat fish, Crayfish, small turtles, frogs, aquatic snails, ducklings, duck eggs, and larger aquatic insects. On occasion, the Snowy Egrets will eat small shoreline animals such as mice, lizards, snakes and land insects. In one of the pictures I am showing today, the Snowy Egrets were with a Great Egret and some Common Cormorants, and in another shot, the Snowy is beside the Great Egret. I took these pictures at dusk last Friday, November 20, 2015 at local Lake County Florida park lake. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the very slightly larger image. Enjoy!
Sandhill Cranes and Ducks
Great Blue Heron
My husband and I went to Paynes Prairie State Preserve, near Gainesville, Florida, and spent about an hour looking for birds on Saturday, January 31, 2015. We were at the Highway 441 Overlook. While there, I spotted many different large birds. The nice thing about this overlook, is that it is free. Sometimes there will be a lot to see, and other times, not so much, but it is a pleasant spot.
One of the birders I met, told me that a good spot to see Sand Hill Cranes in Gainesville, is the cattle yard of the University of Florida on Williston Road. We drove by the cattle yard but it was getting dark and the cranes were leaving for their roosts elsewhere. I plan to go back to that cattle yard during the daytime. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Little Blue Heron