Juvenile White Ibis
White Ibises and Great Egrets are among the many varieties of birds frequenting our shrinking small lakes here in The Villages, FL these days. The Great Egrets are sporting their magnificent breeding plumage now. Quite the beautiful sight! There are several juvenile White Ibises around, too. The youngsters have the brown color mixed in with the white. In a few months, they will turn white.
I took these pictures on Dec. 20, 2016 at Paradise Lake. We are in a drought and the little lake is rapidly drying up. The Boone Park area of the lake is mostly mud flats and Swartz Park is nearly so. The main part of the lake still has a lot of water so all is not dire. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version the picture. Enjoy. Wishing everyone a very happy New Year in 2017!
Adult White Ibis
Great Egret with empty Apple Snail shells on mud flat lake bottom
A Young Alligator
Little Blue Heron
Alligators, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Bufflehead Duck, Mallard Ducks, Common Moorhens, Anhingas, Pied-billed Grebe, and Common Coots all were spotted at two small ponds right next to a small shopping center area near The Villages, Florida on Highway 466. Yes, right next to the Walmart! I took these pictures yesterday afternoon (Jan. 14, 2016). I have taken pictures at these ponds several different times in the last year. There often is wildlife to be seen there.
I am amazed at how well wildlife copes with all the new development. I am glad these wetlands, though tiny, were saved! I spotted three Alligators in the larger of the two ponds by the way and one of those was decent sized! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
Drake Mallard Ducks
Great Blue Heron
Pair of Mallard Ducks
Drake (male) Bufflehead Duck
Sunny Hill Restoration Area
Sand Hill Crane
Spotting Sand Hill Cranes and seeing other wading birds and birds of prey, were highlights of my day trip to the wonderful Sunnyhill Restoration Area in Weirsdale, Florida on January 3, 2015. This park is conservation land along the banks of the Oklawaha River and used to be a huge farm years ago.
This was the third time I had visited the park. I really loved seeing a trio of Sand Hill Cranes in the front yard of the one of the park office spaces. I had seen two cranes in the same yard the last time I visited, which was about a month ago. We also spotted a flock of the cranes down the road about two miles but I could not get any pictures as there was no place nearby to park along the highway. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Sand Hill Cranes
Sunny Hill Restoration & Oklawaha River
Sunny Hill Restoration Area
Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret
Here are more pictures that I took of the largest and rapidly shrinking, rainfall retention basin pond here in the development. I took these pictures of a lone Snowy Egret and three Lesser Yellowlegs on Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. There is a lot of food now easily available to these birds.
I don’t know how much longer the water will support waders, but I sure was glad to be there and spot these beautiful birds! I took these pictures just at twilight and the light was golden. The birds were at the far side of the pond that evening, which is a big difference from the scene a few days ago (part 1). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photograph. Enjoy!
Great Blue Heron
Here are some of the other critters I saw during my short vacation trip to St. Augustine, Florida a week ago. The Great Blue Heron was spotted at the RV park we stayed at. The Mallard flock and Great Cormorant were also RV park residents.
I spotted the Anhinga and the Common Cooter and Florida Soft Shell Turtle at a large freshwater pond behind the police station in St. Augustine Beach. I briefly saw the shell of that Soft Shell Turtle and can say that it was a very large turtle. That big pond was chock-full of turtles. I think I saw at least ten. I took these pictures on August 20, 2014 and again on August 21, 2014. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Hybrid Mallard & Mottled Cross Ducks
Florida Softshell Turtle
Common Cooter Turtle
Adult & Juvenile White Ibises, 6/30/14
Taken in my development here in Florida in last few days at dusk (on rainy days). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Snowy Egret, 7/8/14
Adult White Ibis, 7/8/14
Little Blue Heron, 7/8/14
The Great Blue Herons in our nearby park have had chicks hatch! I was really thrilled to see the little chicks raise their fuzzy heads up out of the stick nest, so I could take some pictures. There were three chicks in one of the nests and two in the other. Both nests are very close to the Koi fish pond and gazebo.
I have taken pictures of the adult Great Blue Herons here before and have shared the photographs on this blog. The parent birds are likely the same herons who were chicks last year. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
This is the Guana Wildlife Management Area near St. Augustine, Florida along the Coastal Highway, A-1-A. There is an education center that I did not go to, and a number of hiking trails through the forested areas. Most of the area that I could see was the area of the Guana River marshes. There are apparently Alligators and Manatees there at the marsh but I did not see these while I was there.
I did see a lot of people having big success fishing from the shore near the parking lot. I also saw a few Snowy Egrets, a lot of Grackles, several Terns and Gulls, and a magnificent Osprey (Friday’s blog post here). The area is posted with warnings about how Alligators can be dangerous to those wading along the shore. I did see a couple of younger men standing in the shallow area of the river while fishing, but thankfully for them, no Alligators were around. I hope to get back to see more of this beautiful large marsh park. I took these pictures on Sept. 11, 2013. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger pictures. Enjoy!