This pair of Morning Doves was happily browsing on the ground and then perching on a low wooden rail fence at the beautiful little Four Oaks Park on Morse Ave. in The Villages, Florida. I spotted the serene doves on Sunday afternoon during a quick golf cart visit to the park and nearby Lake Sumter. The park is only accessible by cart, on foot, or by bike via the multi-modal path.
The doves were cooing and seemed quite tame. I think they also like those White Ibises and ducks, get lots of hand-outs from residents and visitors. This little park is a gem that also has a small observation deck overlooking the Lake Sumter marshes. During the visit I also spotted a Little Blue Heron, a Palm Warbler, and an Osprey. It was a nice quick visit! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
Sandhill Cranes are really wonderful big birds. Isn’t it wonderful how the chick has grown? I am so very glad for it. The Sandhill Cranes seem to be outstanding parents. I had photographed this little chick with its parents several weeks ago, about a quarter-mile down the road from this particular ranch pond. This pond is a place I often go to photograph wildlife and is either at, or next to, one of the larger, important horse farms in Northwest Marion County, Florida.
There are a lot of cattle on this pasture with the pond these days. The big equestrian event has concluded so there is less human commotion around the area. So far, the pond still has wildlife living there, even with those cows! There is a nesting pair of Canada Geese and another nesting pair of Mottled Ducks there now. I took these pictures from the roadway on April 2, 2015. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
These American White Ibises were flying around in Ocala, Florida on Saturday, January 18, 2014 in the afternoon. My husband and I were driving East on State Route 40 through Ocala when I spotted the flock of Ibises flying. I started to take some pictures and noticed that the huge birds had decided to pause for awhile and perch in a downtown tree! I took these pictures through the windshield of the pick-up truck while we were moving in traffic. The lines you see in the pictures are regular electric or telephone lines that are along the city street in town.
The Ibis is a very beautiful and slightly comical bird. These Ibises all perched precariously in the tree sure were an amazing sight. They looked like white ornaments hanging from the tree like holiday decorations. The other thing that was funny about the scene was that this all happened in a mixed business and residential area. This area is only a few miles from the Silver Springs State Park and Silver River so perhaps Ibises do reside fairly nearby. I’m including a close-up crop of one of these tree-top Ibises for your viewing enjoyment. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.
Two pairs of Hooded Mergansers came to visit my immediate neighborhood yesterday afternoon which surprised and delighted me no end! The migratory ducks were swimming in the large rainfall retention basin pond, (newly filled with storm water) located two blocks down from my home here in Marion County, Florida.
The ducks likely would not find very much to eat in that basin these days due to the pond having been previously almost totally dried up in recent weeks (big storms for past two days replenished the basin’s water). In fact, this area usually looks like a sunken lawn. Hooded Mergansers like eating fish, frogs, and aquatic insects and worms. Perhaps this foursome did get some small insects or worms for their meal. I hope so.
By the way, the hens are the ones with the fuzzy-looking brown crest on top of their head. I had been hoping to see some ducks here in Florida and was especially excited to see some so close to home! I took these pictures at about 4:00PM yesterday (Jan. 14, 2014) here on my street (hiding behind a Camellia bush!). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
This pair of juvenile Yellow Bellied Sap Suckers were flitting about in the Holly Tree across the street from my home yesterday, January 7, 2014. The pair of older juvenile woodpeckers also flew over to a nearby Pine Tree and were clinging to the trunk with their long sharp claws. I also had spotted one of the Sap Suckers clinging to the hefty trunk of an Oak nearby before seeing the pair fly over to the holly.
Yellow Bellied Sap Suckers peck into trees such as Pines and Sycamores and Oaks and drink the sugar-rich sap. They also will eat insects found in the bark of the trees on occasion. The juveniles have a rather brownish tinge to their backs on top of the black and white barred coloring. This brown disappears as they grow into adults. The adults have a small red patch with the adult males also having a red throat. I took these pictures early in the morning and it was 31 degrees F. out. So the birds and I were pretty cold! Please click the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
This Grey Squirrel seemed very curious as to what I was doing with the camera. It noticed me and froze as many squirrels do when uncertain about a situation. After a few moments, it relaxed and came toward me a bit. It then went about its routine gathering Magnolia seed pods and Acorns for its meal. It seemed to enjoy the red Magnolia seeds a lot!
There are a lot of Grey Squirrels here in my neighborhood. Of course, I do live on a tree-lined street with many Live Oaks, Sycamores, Magnolias and Long-leafed Pines plus the odd Acacia tree. So there is plenty of food for all the squirrels to share. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Eastern Blue Jay
Smaller birds have been visiting in my neighborhood recently. I tok these photographs on Oct. 8, 2013 and again on Oct. 9, 2013. We are likely seeing the first waves of migrating birds from up North.
I was happy to see a Carolina Chickadee, a Carolina Wren, Eastern Blue Jay, Northern Mockingbird, Red-bellied Woodpecker (one of a pair), and a bright Palm Warbler. I also have seen a pair of Eastern Bluebirds, and many Tufted Titmice, Common Crows around. These are all welcomed birds which I happily enjoyed! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
The Tufted Titmouse is one of the cutest of the songbirds. Titmice have arrived here with Carolina Wrens. The Tufted Titmice are grey birds with large, appealing black eyes, a small crest on top of their head, and apricot coloring on their sides under the wings. The Titmice eat insects but they love seeds fruits and nuts.
My neighbor has put up a bird feeder which has Sunflower Seeds and other bird seed. I plan to add a bird feeder to my back yard. In addition to having bird feeders up, the smaller birds may come around more often now that the neighborhood Hawk has recently been run-off by the Crows. I took these pictures on September 29, 2013. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
This Snowy Egret has a friend but it’s not another Egret, but a white-phase Little Blue Heron. The pond where I snapped these pictures is one of the temporary rainfall retention ponds we have here in this development. It is down the street from the larger permanent pond along the golf course, where I frequently see other herons and egrets. The Snowy Egret is the one with the yellow eyes, yellow patch above its bill, and the yellow feet.
The other wading bird is a juvenile Little Blue Heron. They certainly look-alike, don’t they? The give-away is that bluish bill and the faintly light blue-green legs and feet. These two birds wade in the shallows of ponds, rivers and lakes and love eating amphibians, small turtles, fishes and insects. I have heavily cropped one photo of both birds together in order to help show the subtle difference between each. I took these pictures on Thursday, September 26, 2013 in the morning here in the development where I live in Marion County, Florida. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
This Pileated Woodpecker was pecking away at the trunk of one of the Live Oaks in my front yard on a bright morning back in June. I had posted before about this same bird. This young adult was hunting for insects, or was trying to explore a way to peck into the sawed-off stump where a limb had been. These areas of the trees are sometimes used by the woodpeckers as a spot to cache foods, or even to enlarge into a cavity nest.
I think the wood was very tough and the bird not getting much to eat, moved on. I am always happy to see woodpeckers! I have seen the Pileated Woodpecker here twice in the past six months. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!