Great Blue Herons are now beginning to raise young and are molting (losing breeding feathers) so they are mostly on their nests unless hunting for a meal. They wade in shallow water in the early morning and late afternoon to catch fish, frogs, ducklings, shoreline snakes, lizards, and nearly anything else they can catch to eat.
We have a year-around population of Great Blue Herons here in The Villages, Florida. These birds nest in colonies way up in sturdy Oaks and Pines near ponds or lakes. Many are now proud parents and will be raising chicks for several more weeks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
This Snowy Egret was spotted on the shoreline of the Freedom Pointe Lake here in The Villages, Florida, while I was riding down the multi-modal path in the golf cart. This lake often has egrets, herons, ibis or ducks on the shore in this particular area. This bird was actively hunting for its meal of fish or frogs. The egret walks along in the shallows looking for its prey. These are very good hunters! Beautiful, too. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
White Pelicans apparently have decided to stick around here in The Villages in limited numbers. I noticed about eight of the big white beauties a few days ago on the pond called “Golf View Lake” near Paradise Park, and probably the same group, at Lake Paradise the next day. I had also spotted a small number of the pelicans on a different pond at the Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course (not the driving range pond).
So, I may have been premature about declaring that the pelicans had migrated North. We will see if these few stay here in The Villages over the Winter as some did last season. Who knows? Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
The migratory White Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants are gathering together to get ready for the long journey back up North. These birds are feasting on fish and frogs to gain strength for the flight back home to their breeding grounds. I think quite a few of these birds have already left our area. Last year we only had about six pelicans stay over all-year long.
I spotted the pelicans and cormorants at the Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course driving range pond and also at Freedom Pointe Lake here in The Villages, FL. These are two spots where the pelicans and cormorants return to every year it seems. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Great Blue Herons in a colony nest called a “Rookery” were spotted yesterday, March 24, 2019, on Buena Vista Blvd. here in The Villages, Florida. The rookery is up in a huge Live Oak tree on the shore of a golf course pond. The rookery can be viewed from the multi-modal pathway. I saw three adults in the tree, two older chicks which are nearly ready to fly, and a much younger chick on a lower nest. An additional adult Great Blue Heron was standing on the shore.
The older chicks looked like they were very hungry! I spotted the parent heron attempting to feed both with limited success. After a few very active rowdy moments, that parent heron flew off to find more food! The young chick was very inactive. One of the adults was snoozing and occasionally would be awakened by the flapping of the older chicks above. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Cattle Egrets are the three types of egrets that are commonly seen here in Central Florida. The largest is the Great Egret. The smallest is the Snowy Egret with the Cattle Egret being the chunky middle-sized one of the three. There is a Reddish Egret that is rarely seen and I have only once gotten a photo of that egret. That Reddish Egret looks like a magenta version of the Little Blue Heron. The smaller herons are actually egrets so it is no wonder they all have similar characteristics.
The Great Egret is one that sometimes goes away from the water to forage in shrubbery for snakes and lizards, mice and larger insects to eat. The Cattle Egret likes to walk around pastures where horses or cattle are present. You also occasionally see Cattle Egrets at ponds and lakes where they will drink and occasionally hunt. The Snowy Egret has yellow legs and feet and a slender black bill and is mostly seen on the shore or in shallow water of ponds and lakes and marshes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!