Tuscawilla Park in Ocala, Florida has two medium-sized ponds that have a variety of water birds, and wading birds in and around them. I was there at Tuscawilla Park on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 in the afternoon for about five minutes. No, I did not see hundreds of birds as I have in past visits during the Winter months. Many birds have gone elsewhere on their migratory journey.
I did see several Great Egrets, a couple of Wood Storks, Snowy Egrets, a lot of White Ibis, a lot of Common Cormorants, a few Wood Ducks, a few Muscovy Ducks and a Great Blue Heron. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Great Egret, Snowy Egrets, and Double Crested Cormorants
Juvenile White Ibis
Adult White Ibis
Wood Storks; a Great Blue Heron; Great Egrets; Snowy Egrets; Double-crested Cormorants; Pied-billed Grebes; a Little Blue Heron and a small flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were all vying for a meal of tasty fish, tadpoles, frogs, small turtles; or larger aquatic insects in the lovely little Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL on Sunday, October 23, 2016.
This is quite an unusual sight to find so many varieties and numbers of wading birds all in one spot. Most of these birds are migrating and are just stopping over to rest in the small welcoming lake.
In these feeding frenzies, I have seen it be common for the herons, egrets, and storks to follow what is happening with the cormorants in the water. By the way, later in the day, I also saw a Tri-colored Heron at Swartz Park.
I took these pictures from Paradise Park and Swartz Park on the small private residential lake. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Wood Storks, Snowy Egret
A Cattle Egret in Breeding Colors
Cattle Egrets, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Anhingas, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, and other large wading birds have created a rookery or nesting area in a marshy preserve on Morse Ave. in The Villages, FL above CR 466. This area is along a popular golf cart multi-modal pathway and golf carts can easily stop there in the grassy area in front of the rail fence (not automobiles). I have photographed this area once before.
I was very surprised to see the large flock of hundreds of Cattle Egrets that have nested there in the front section of the preserve. The swampy area likely is protected by both the fence and the Alligators that may be present in the shallow marsh under the shrubbery. I took these pictures in the afternoon, on April 30, 2016. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Great Egret in Flight
Cattle Egrets in the Roost
Cattle Egret with Nesting Materials
Nesting Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret Nest
This gorgeous Snowy Egret was spotted at what I refer to as “The Walmart Pond”, a small pond on the side of the Buffalo Ridge Walmart parking lot off of CR 466 near The Villages, FL. I have often gone to this particular pond to watch the egrets, herons, gators and other wildlife there. I took these pictures back on April 9, 2016. It is one of my favorite hot-spots for spotting wading birds.
The Snowy Egret is in its breeding plumage. The Snowy Egret has a black bill, blackish green legs and mustard-yellow feet. It is a smaller egret but is slightly larger than the Cattle Egret. The Snowy Egret eats fish, frogs, tadpoles, aquatic snails, larger aquatic and near shoreline insects and worms. I am usually rewarded by seeing at least a few water birds, ducks, or the big waders. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A gathering of Common Cormorants, Great and Snowy Egrets, White Pelicans, and Wood Storks, all in a small cove end of a large pond was an amazing sight to see! I spotted the groups of big birds in a pond connected by a large pipe to the small neighborhood lake here.
This pond is ringed only by homes and has no public access. I took the pictures from the street at a tiny park, a long way from where the birds were. I am thankful that my long 150-500 lens could get the pictures. this is a secret spot, where the birds can relax away from people for the most part. I took the pictures at dusk on Dec. 7, 2015. The pond has a large fountain going at full blast where the White Pelicans and many of the Common Cormorants were paddling slowly. I also saw to my great happiness, a couple of Bufflehead Ducks! They are my favorite ducks! Please click on the thumbnail images to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Snowy Egrets are shorter than the Great Egrets. The Snowy Egrets have a black bill, blackish green legs and mustard yellow ankles and feet. The Snowy Egrets have billowy white feathers during their courtship and breeding season.
The Snowy Egrets are very beautiful big wading birds! These birds eat fish, Crayfish, small turtles, frogs, aquatic snails, ducklings, duck eggs, and larger aquatic insects. On occasion, the Snowy Egrets will eat small shoreline animals such as mice, lizards, snakes and land insects. In one of the pictures I am showing today, the Snowy Egrets were with a Great Egret and some Common Cormorants, and in another shot, the Snowy is beside the Great Egret. I took these pictures at dusk last Friday, November 20, 2015 at local Lake County Florida park lake. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the very slightly larger image. Enjoy!
A Great Egret, several Snowy Egrets, and a Little Blue Heron all took their places temporarily in a medium-sized Cypress Tree. They were very flighty. I took all but one of these pictures at a little pond near CR 466 in Sumter County, Florida at about 5:45 PM last night. I doubt these birds actually were intending to roost for the night, but were probably just resting a few moments. There are two ponds very close together in the area.
The picture of the Ibises was taken a few minutes later on last evening. It was taken on the shore of the little park lake, located just off of the Spanish Springs Square in The Villages, Florida. Please click on the thumbnail images to see a slightly larger version of that picture. Enjoy!