I spotted this lovely family of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at the Lake Okahumpka County Park in Sumter County, FL near The Villages, on Sunday, August 26, 2018. The juvenile whistlers have a bluish bill and similar colored feet and legs. As they approach adulthood, their bill, legs and feet turn bright pink. The ducklings were feeding while one of the parents stood guard against any predators.
Whistling Ducks are tipping ducks as you can see in several of the pictures. The ducks lean into the water and use their bill to scrape around the mud and water to find any tasty bits of insects, fish eggs, tadpoles, snails, frogs and smaller fish. They also will eat vegetation and seeds. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
I spotted this Red-tailed Hawk perched in the boughs of a lovely Cypress Tree on the banks of the little Lake Mira-Mar in The Villages, FL near the Spanish Springs square. This lake is next to The Sharon auditorium as well as a recreation center and the Veteran’s Memorial park. The lake is used for model boat sailing and racing, kayaking, a limited amount of catch and bird watching, The lake attracts White Ibis, Great Blue Heron, Anhinga, ducks by the dozens, and occasionally Wood Storks, Tri-colored Herons, Great Egrets, and Snowy Egrets.
The hawk was attracted by the presence of ducklings. I think there were four little Florida Mottled Ducks, following their mother. Hawks love ducklings for dinner. I doubt this hawk got lucky as Mother Duck spotted the bird of prey and moved the babies elsewhere. I took these pictures on Sunday evening at dinner time. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Florida Mottled Ducklings have been spotted here in The Villages, Florida at a small parkland pond on Morse Ave. near Live Oaks Park (on the golf cart path side). By the way, I saw an amazing number of different types of water birds such as a Great Blue Heron, a white phase Little Blue Heron, a small flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, a pair of Sandhill Cranes and a Glossy Ibis in addition to the mama Florida Mottled Duck and her youngsters at this pond!
My husband and I spent a really fabulous few moments at the pond taking pictures and then we were on our way home (did not want to disturb the birds who were feeding). I so enjoy bird watching here in my community! I took these pictures on Saturday, April 30, 2016 late in the afternoon. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Some of the other water birds I saw at the pond!
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!
The Wood Ducks have been extra busy as of late. I was quite pleasantly surprised yesterday to stumble upon a new mother hen Wood Duck and her new brood of three precious ducklings here on the pond. I did not know that Wood Ducks would start families so late in the year, but well, here they are! I am guessing that these ducklings are about a few days old now.
They are certainly not the same ducklings that I had earlier photographed (those are now learning to fly). I think that the drakes must be hanging out at the lake down the street. I have not seen a drake here since May. I am thrilled to see these new babies and hope they thrive! I took these photographs in a big hurry so as not to upset the mother duck and her babies. I took the pictures on July 21, 2012 in my yard. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
I was out with the camera yesterday afternoon at pond-side and accidentally startled the little family of Wood Ducks. Mama quickly led her trio of ducklings away from the shore and way out onto the pond and across to the other shore. She had hidden her ducklings in amongst the tall reeds where I did not at first spot them. The Wood Ducks are quite shy and unlike the gregarious Mallards, just don’t want to be around humans.
These ducks eat insects and tiny pond animals so I think there may be delicious worms and snails around in the reeds and rushes to tempt the ducklings. I did not see the drake out this afternoon. He may be resting or away with some of the other males at the nearby lake. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
By the way, the famed once-in-a-lifetime event, “The Transit of Venus” will happen late this afternoon (time for the United States of America views). I am going to observe by watching on the NASA website (this is an address reference for you)<http://sunearthday.gsfc.nasa.gov/webcasts/nasaedge/>. Never directly look at the Sun as you could become blinded. Treat this as if you were going to watch a Solar Eclipse.