Grey Squirrels, Mallard Ducks, and hybrid Mallard/Florida Mottled Ducks were spotted on the little Lake Paradise in The Villages, Florida on Monday night at twilight. I am including views of the lake on the Swartz Park end which is almost totally dry to the North and rapidly shrinking again to the South. By the way, that shot that looks like a huge grassy prairie, is really the dry lake bed. Yikes!
We are still in a drought situation here. I enjoy this regional park which is reserved for residents and guests here in The Villages, Florida. There is always wildlife around us here. I have a great time bird and critter-watching. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
I spotted these Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, commonly called “Whistlers” on Sunday night at twilight at Lake Mira-mar in The Villages at Spanish Springs. The charming ducks whistle instead of quacking. This whistle is pretty high-pitched and distinctive. They are aloof but generally very sweet ducks. Beautiful with bright pink bills, legs and feet. The birds get the pink bill and feet when they become adults. They eat grains, seeds, and insects. They are a welcomed duck here in our area! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Wood Ducks were spotted at Tuscawilla Park in Ocala, Florida on Tuesday, January 4, 2017. I had an errand in Ocala so we decided to check on what was going on wildlife-wise at Tuscawilla. Mostly ducks, cormorants, ibis, and a few Wood Storks. No pelicans or herons at all on that occasion.
The Wood Ducks are especially beautiful. Notice that one of the hens is very light in color. I may have photographed this leucastic hen two years ago there. The leucastic color is just a faded color on the feathers and is a rare condition, probably a genetic mutation.
Wood Ducks eat fish, crayfish, frogs, tender small turtles, and aquatic insects for the most part. Occasionally they will also eat grains and fruit. They nest up perhaps ten feet or more in trees where the ducklings glide out onto the ground as pretty-much new hatchlings. That always amazes me. The nests are usually in hollowed out spaces in trees or in specially made “Duck boxes” on posts on the immediate shore or in the water on poles.
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A few white domestic Pekin Ducks, a lone Mallard drake, and a bunch of hybrid mixes (likely Muscovy and Pekin or Mallard and Pekin) were all happily strolling around the peaceful shoreline of the pond end of Lake Miramar at the Veteran’s Park in The Villages, Florida, near Spanish Springs Square.
I spotted the ducks late in the afternoon this past Sunday. Several ducks were resting under the Rhododendron bushes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version. Enjoy!
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and Hooded Merganser Ducks have been around in the local ponds and small lakes here. I enjoy watching both but tend to be really wowed by the brown, black and white cuties with their vivid pink bills (you know which I mean). Yes, the ducks here are charming! The Hooded Mergansers are migratory here while the whistlers may be local to the region.
The Hooded Mergansers are diving ducks and fish by diving down to catch small fish, frogs, tadpoles, crayfish, large aquatic snails, small tender turtles or larger aquatic insects. The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are more open to eating both meat and vegetation. They are like their cousins the Mallards in that aspect. Both of these ducks are excellent fliers!
I took these pictures here in my neighborhood and in a nearby neighborhood during the last several weeks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Merry Christmas! I won’t be posting on Friday but will catch up on Saturday. See you then!
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were out in force at Tuscawilla Park in downtown Ocala, Florida when I was there last week. I enjoy watching the cute “Whistlers”! There were older juveniles among the flock of adults. You can tell the youngsters by their grey-bluish bills and feet. The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks’ bills, and feet will turn bright pink as they become adults.
The group of ducks I saw last week appears to be a resident Florida flock. I expect many migratory ducks to arrive here in Central Florida in coming months. I think the largest waterbird gathering at Tuscawilla Park happens in late January and early February. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a very slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy! P.S. Sorry for the slightly late post today – I just forgot. I do not use auto post. Wildlifewatcher
Muscovy Ducks and a Pekin Duck were all spotted at Tuscawilla Park lake in Ocala, Florida on Sept. 24, 2015. The Muscovy Ducks and Pekin Ducks are both domestic farm breeds. These ducks probably flew away from farm or ranch ponds in the area or are descendants of previous generations of ducks that did. The Muscovy is a very unusual-looking duck and it has a distinct fleshy growth on its head, called a “Wattle”. I was happy to see Muscovy ducklings at the park as well as the adults.
The white duck is the Pekin Duck. There were only a few of the Pekin Ducks at the lake, and really only just a few wading birds there during this visit. This lake is jammed-packed with water fowl and wading birds in February! It is quite the sight. I previously photographed many birds at this same lake this last Winter. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a very slightly larger version of that same photo. Enjoy!