These Great Egrets were spotted in The Villages, Florida at El Santiago Golf Pond, Silver Lake Recreation Center Pond, and Lake Paradise near Schwartz Park and Boone Park. I took these pictures this past weekend. Some of the areas are harder to get to still due to minor flooding, but more areas are opening up once again.
The Great Egrets eat small fish, frogs, turtles, baby alligators, mice, lizards, baby birds, and snakes (and other small critters). They fish with their long sharp yellow bills and spear their prey. These birds are mostly wading birds but they do hunt on land in shrubbery and on lawns at times. Great Egrets are white with yellow bills, black legs and black feet. They are among the tallest of the egrets. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
White Pelicans migrate to Florida from the Mid-west each year for the Winter. There is now a flock of about twenty here in my neighborhood that arrived today. Many are youngsters as evident from their light pink bill pouch. As the White Pelicans mature, their pouch gets thicker stronger and turns a much more yellow color (breeding White Pelicans also develop a ridge in the middle of the top of their upper bill).
White Pelicans eat fish, frogs, small turtles, and large aquatic insects. Our lakes and ponds have dramatically dropped their water levels recently so the fishing is very good! In addition to all the pelicans, I also spotted four Wood Storks, several assorted ducks, and two Great Egrets. No sight of the usual mob of Double Crested Cormorants that usually is around with the pelicans. Perhaps they are still in another area of The Villages, or are on their way! I took these pictures this afternoon, Dec. 1, 2016 at Boone Park (Facing across the road toward the pond area of Paradise Lake). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of the picture. I will be back with a new post on Monday! Have a happy weekend!
Last night I finally got a chance to get out and do a little wildlife observation at the local park lakes. I spotted several kinds of wading birds and also many geese and ducks. The three types of geese I saw were: Canada Geese, Egyptian Geese, and White Chinese Geese. Quite international if I do say.
We had a stormy day here on Monday with the Tropical Storm “Colin”. We were lucky in that our area did not have a lot of damage from the storm. My neighborhood did very well in the storm. A bonus for us is the park lakes are full.
Paradise Lake in the historic side of The Villages, has quite a few Canada Geese. I spotted the Egyptian and Chinese Geese at the little Mira Mar lake in the Spanish Springs area. All of these geese primarily eat grass, aquatic plants and shore based seeds. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
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!
Canada Geese at Lake Paradise
Canada Geese, Egyptian Geese, a Snow Goose, and Chinese Geese are the United Nations of Geese here in The Villages, Florida! We have a lot of ponds and small lakes here plus numerous golf courses and parks. These three breeds of geese are predominately the geese seen in the area. There also occasionally are a few Canada Geese hybrids (likely interbreeding with Chinese Geese or possibly Greylag Geese). I have only spotted a single Snow Goose, but who knows, there could be a small flock here in other places.
The Canada Geese are numerous. There only are a few small flocks of the Egyptian Geese and the Chinese Geese. By the way, the Chinese Geese are a domestic farm breed and either were middle of the night donations, or were escapees. All of these geese enjoy grains and grass to eat. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that picture. Enjoy!
Egyptian Geese at Lake Paradise
The lone Snow Goose at Lake Paradise
Chinese Geese at Lake Mira Mar at the Veteran’s Park
Older Juvenile White Ibis
I frequently see several flocks of White Ibises here in my area. They are often seen in the parks and sometimes in neighborhoods, browsing for grubs worms and insects on lush lawns. They also wade in shallow water foraging for aquatic snails, small fish, and aquatic vegetation.
The White Ibises here tend to fly to various places from pretty much the same roosting area. They like to roost in small trees in a marsh were alligators keep predators away. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
American White Ibises seem to be around in this area in many spots. Most are gathered on the shorelines of the little park lakes but some also are roaming the neighborhood grazing on lawns. The American White Ibises eat insects and worms mainly but also enjoy seeds and sometimes plants.
American Ibises are found in marshes and along bodies of water in addition to parks and sometimes, neighborhood lawns, here in Florida. Occasionally American White Ibises can be spotted in other warm weather semi-tropical states, usually along the Gulf of Mexico, and Georgia or South Carolina near or on the Atlantic coast (I have also heard of some Ibises being seen in Southern California once in a while).
The Ibises are big flock social birds and like being with geese, ducks, herons, egrets, and the Wood Storks. Ibises seem to be quite placid and content and people can easily observe the birds from a distance without spooking them – at least here in suburbia that is true. I took most of these pictures last evening at dusk, with the exception being that of the white adult with the brown-colored juvenile which I took back in August also at the same lake. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
I visited our area’s beautiful botanical park (where I spotted the owls) on March 29, 2015, and again, March 31, 2015. I saw a few of the beautiful Cedar Waxwings high in two of the huge Pine Trees and also took pictures of a couple of the large fat Koi fish that are resident in the park pond. The Cooter Turtles also live in that pond.
The final park critter I saw was an oh-so-cute little Grey Squirrel that scooted up to the shady Gazebo next to the Koi Pond, and snagged some of the fallen fish food on the floor (sold in a machine at the gazebo for a quarter). That little squirrel was unafraid of people and calmly ate while four adults watched. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. By the way, I have just now returned to our Florida home and am glad to be back!