Roseate Spoonbills, Sandhill Cranes, Wood Storks, Limpkins, a Black Crowned Night Heron, Egyptian Geese, White-phase Little Blue Herons, and Green Herons have all been photographed in freshwater marshes (sometimes referred to as “Prairies”), ponds, and small lakes here in or near The Villages, Florida. I love seeing these birds!
The Roseate Spoonbill (only seen here once in the four years I have lived here, the Black-crowned and White Little Blue Heron have to be the most seldom seen here of all of the above mentioned wading birds. The most common are the Wood Storks and Sandhill Cranes among the ones I am featuring today. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
White Phase Little Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Roseate Spoonbill with Great Egrets
Canada Goose at Lake Paradise
(Please click on each of the thumbnail images to see the slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!)
Sandhill Crane on Hacienda Golf Course
White Pelicans at the Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course Driving Range Pond
Limpkin Eating an Apple Snail at Lake Mira-mar
A River Otter; two Wild Turkeys; a Bald Eagle; about twenty Limpkins; Sandhill Cranes; Little Blue Herons; Great Blue Herons; Anhingas; Turkey and Black Vultures; Double-crested Cormorants; a Black-crowned Night Heron; a Tri-Colored Heron; Snowy Egrets; Great Egrets; a Belted Kingfisher; Alligators; Turtles; Purple Gallinules; and Common Moorhens were all spotted during a two hour scenic boat cruise from the very beautiful Blue Springs State Park on the St. John’s River here in Florida yesterday morning.
The pontoon boat Captain drives slowly through backwater channels chock-full of wildlife! I enthusiastically recommend this cruise! Advance reservations are likely needed and tickets today cost $20.00 per adult plus a $6.00 per car state park day use admission fee.
Part 2 will be posted here on Monday. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Sandhill Crane on its nest
Great Blue Heron
A resting Sandhill Crane
I spotted these birds last Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017 at Lake Paradise, as well as on a golf course near Morse and CR 466, here in The Villages, FL. Such fun to get out and watch the various types of birds we have around now. The weather recently has been very windy rainy and cooler. Hopefully I will find time to get out and take a bunch of new photographs to share here soon. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Canada Geese on Lake Paradise
A Double Crested Cormorant on Lake Paradise at Boone Park
Likely a Red-shouldered Hawk at Lake Paradise
Birds cool off by opening their beaks or bills to breathe cooler air into their system. So on a hot day or evening if you see a bird panting, they are just trying to keep cool. They also will often try to sit or perch in a shady spot or wade in a stream, pond or lake. I took these photos last night at dusk here in The Villages, Florida. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Great Blue Heron
Mottled Ducks, White Ibis, Trio-colored Heron
Great Blue Heron
White Ibis at Lake Mira-mar
I spotted these water birds last weekend in The Villages, Fl at Lake Mira-mar at Spanish Springs, and the lovely little golf course pond at El Santiago Golf Course on Enrique Drive. Both spots are places I often can spot a few (or more) water birds and wading birds such as White Ibis, Sandhill Cranes, Snowy Egrets, and Anhingas. The golf course was being worked on and golf was not happening while I was there.
By the way, I occasionally spot Wood Storks and Bald Eagles at the area around the El Santiago golf course pond. It is a pleasure to visit the pond on Enrique Drive and try to see if there are eagles or storks around. The eagles are sometimes spotted up on the electric line towers there at the course, and about a block or two down the street. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Sandhill Cranes at the El Santiago Golf Course near the pond
A Snowy Egret hunts in the pond-side grass at the El Santiago Golf Course Pond
An Anhinga Dries off at the El Santiago Golf Course Pond
Osprey on Enrique Dr. near Golf Course
I took all of these pictures here in The Villages, FL during the past two weeks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. By the way, the lakes here in The Villages are now full or nearly so! Hooray! Enjoy!
Sandhill Crane on CR 466 near Morse Blvd.
Anhinga at Freedom Pointe Lake
Black Bellied Whistling Ducks at Schwartz Park on Lake Paradise
White Ibis at Lake Mira-mar
Wood Stork at Lake Mira-mar
White Pelicans, a Sandhill Crane, Northern Shoveler Ducks, a Great Egret, Double Crested Cormorants and Lesser Yellowlegs all joined the mob of Seagulls in the fray trying to find a lunch meal at a local golf course water hazard pond. I estimate that there were well over one hundred White Pelicans in two big groups there in the large pond. That Sandhill Crane landed right in front of a home with statues of large wading birds! How fun!
Additionally, I spotted a male Boat-tailed Grackle perched on the roof of our car! I took these pictures on January 17, 2016 at the Belle Glade Golf Course pond in The Villages, Florida. I was there at the pond on a shoreline knoll, observing for about twenty minutes, and had such a great time seeing all the action! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
This Sandhill Crane is the same juvenile I have photographed for just over the last three months now (I think it was March 16, 2015 when I first posted a picture of the chick with parents). I spotted this crane at the same horse ranch pond in Northeastern Marion County where I often have photographed water birds. I did not see the parents this time. I wonder if the parents are on a nearby pasture or if they have left the juvenile for an extended time.
I do not know if the juvenile, which appears mostly fully grown at around fifteen weeks of age, can fly yet. Sandhill Cranes are excellent at flying. I believe the family was of the native Florida group of Sandhill Cranes. I am not sure how much longer I will be seeing this wonderful crane here. The crane likely will eventually seek a mate and possibly move on. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
The Sandhill Crane family I have been occasionally observing out in the area adjacent to the horse farm pond in Northwestern Marion County, FL, is doing really well. I am thrilled! The juvenile has really grown a lot and is about five to six weeks old.
I have now photographed the trio four times since March 16, 2015. I took these latest pictures from the side of the road a long way from the birds so as to not disturb them. I photographed the cranes on April 15, 2015, at about 5:00 pm. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!