I spotted this Limpkin at the shoreline of Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL on Saturday evening at dusk. The Limpkin is a wading bird that is unique as it is not related to the other types of wading birds although it does resemble the rails and the bittern (and even juvenile Green Herons). These birds primarily eat aquatic snails with Apple Snails being preferred. This is the first Limpkin I have seen at Lake Paradise but I had seen one on the nearby Lake Miramar just across the highway, several months ago on three occasions.
Limpkin are mostly active at night and are very shy. This particular bird was standing on a concrete culvert on the immediate shoreline about twenty feet from the multi-modal (golf carts, bicycles and pedestrians) pathway leading to the Silver Lake Village neighborhood. I am thrilled to have seen the bird and photographed it. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Killdeer at the Freedom Pointe Lakes
Killdeer, Great Blue Herons, a Little Blue Heron, and a number of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were all spotted on and in our little lakes here in The Villages, Florida, in the last several days. Additionally, there were Wood Storks, Anhingas, a few Hooded Merganser Ducks, Ring Necked Ducks, Mallards, Egyptian and Canada Geese, and Great Egrets. I think the Killdeer possibly was standing right on its nest in the picture above, but it may also just be some pebbles.
I enjoy going sound to different lakes to check out what kinds of birds are visiting. More and more (and different) birds are arriving during the Winter migration. Just yesterday, I saw an amazing fifty or so Great Egrets plus about twenty Wood Stork out on one of the small park lakes here. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
Black-bellied Whistling Duck at Swartz Park on Lake Paradise
Little Blue Heron (Boone Park on Paradise Lake)
Great Blue Heron at a Freedom Pointe area lake
Male Eastern Bluebird
We went to what we thought was a Burrowing Owl Preserve here in our area a few days ago. We heard from a resident who lives next to the preserve, that due to the presence of Coyotes, the owls had left that large field preserve area a few years ago. I did spot a trio of songbirds and surprisingly, a small Black Racer Snake, which is non-poisonous.
The Eastern Bluebirds cheerfully sat on the wooden fence surrounding the large field that had been the home of the owls (supposedly now it is home to Gopher Tortoises which we did not see). After the Eastern Bluebirds left, a Northern Mockingbird took their place on the fence. I also spotted an Eastern Blue Jay in the trees next to the fence but there were too many leaves in the way of my shot to get a good picture. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Female Eastern Bluebird
The “Surprise”! A Black Racer Snake
A Northern Mockingbird
A Flock of American Robins was feeding on the ground next to the rainfall retention basin across the street from my house. One of these robins, a bright orange male, was happily bathing in the shallow water of this basin on a sunny warm afternoon on March 1, 2014 when I took these pictures.
This handsome robin was splashing away while its friends were hunting for worms in the lawns of the basin area and at a flower bed next to the basin. American Robins are to me, such cheerful and busy birds! I really enjoy seeing and hearing them. There were about ten of these cuties here. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photo. Enjoy!
These tiny woodpeckers were seen in my neighborhood in the past several days. I have seen both a pair of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (only male shown here), and a pair of Downy Woodpeckers. The male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has a red throat and a red patch on the top of its head.
The male Downy has that small bright red spot on its head while the female Downy does not. The Sapsuckers also have some light brown back feathers that change to more of the black and white barring as they age. I hope you’ll enjoy seeing these smaller woodpeckers. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Palm Warblers are cute little Winter visitors here. They have a streaky brown and yellowish buff belly with a light brown back and a bit of yellow on and under the tail. They usually have a rusty, dark orange-red tinged cap on the head, with a faint eye ring. Some Palm Warblers have yellow markings on their face near the bill and sometimes near the eyes. The birds get a bit brighter in their breeding plumage. Both genders look fairly similar. Palm Warblers are about the size of many of the sparrows or finches.
Palm Warblers eat insects and catch many tiny flying insects. Palm Warblers like eating berries, seeds, and plant or tree nectar in the Winter months. They also will often eat on the ground, and sometimes hide in the grass. The Palm Warblers are pretty additions to the neighborhood! I took these pictures on Dec. 2, 2013. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture of the Palm Warbler. Enjoy!
Carolina Wrens have made their home in the shrubbery and trees just a few homes away down the street from my house. These tiny cinnamon and buff-colored birds with upright long tail feathers are really adorable! Their other characteristic, is that they enjoy being around homes, especially near covered front porches. They have a very loud voice and often flit around chasing each other over a prize of food, finding a mate, or being territorial. They are mighty-might little birds!
It has been raining a lot here and it also is molting season for many of our birds. There just have not been a lot of active birds out when I am able to get outdoors to take pictures. I snapped these pictures at about 6:00 PM last evening after the rains stopped.