Anhingas and Double Crested Cormorants both are fairly commonly seen here in Central Florida lakes and ponds during the Winter months. Both are water birds that fly as well as swim, dive, and stand or walk on the shoreline. Anhingas prefer fresh water and Cormorants are seen in both fresh and salt water. Both birds are meat eaters.
The Anhinga is a larger bird than the Double Crested Cormorant. Anhingas have a long sword-like bill while the Double Crested Cormorants have a shorter slightly thicker bill with a slight hook at the tip. The Anhinga has a honey brown throat and some streaky white feathers on the tail and back. The Double Crested Cormorant is very dark brown with the orange-yellow feet and bill.
Anhingas tend to roost in tall trees such as the Cypress Tree. Anhingas are often solitary or with a mate while cormorants tend to be more of flock group birds. I photographed both of these kinds of birds here in the past month. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Double Crested Cormorants
Double Crested Cormorants with Pelicans
Close-up of the Bill of an Anhinga
Double Crested Cormorants
Anhinga (left) and Cormorant
Here are some of the various kinds of herons I have spotted here in Florida. I have seen the common Great Blue Heron; the Great White Heron; the Little Blue Heron in both the blue and the white phases; the Tri-colored Heron; and the Green Heron. I have not photographed a Yellow-crowned Night Heron but I did spot one at Sanibel Island a couple of years ago.
Around The Villages, Florida area, I often see the Great Blue Herons, the Little Blue Herons and the Tri-colored Herons. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Adult Little Blue Heron
Juvenile Little Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron (photo taken at dusk)
Great White Heron in Breeding Plumage
Female Hooded Merganser
A few days ago we went to see what was happening at the two small ponds near the Walmart on Highway 466 in The Villages, FL area. Happily, there were several egrets, alligators, herons, coots, ducks, turtles and cormorants there! It was several minutes of happy bird watching and photography.
It is not uncommon in Central Florida to see a lot of exotic birds and reptiles near civilization. It is something we Floridians are used to. At times, one may see a Great Egret hunting in the landscaped front area near a parking lot at a business, or even in the shrubbery at a roadway median! I was pleased to see all of this action mere minutes from my home. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Little Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Double Crested Cormorant
Male Eastern Bluebird
We went to what we thought was a Burrowing Owl Preserve here in our area a few days ago. We heard from a resident who lives next to the preserve, that due to the presence of Coyotes, the owls had left that large field preserve area a few years ago. I did spot a trio of songbirds and surprisingly, a small Black Racer Snake, which is non-poisonous.
The Eastern Bluebirds cheerfully sat on the wooden fence surrounding the large field that had been the home of the owls (supposedly now it is home to Gopher Tortoises which we did not see). After the Eastern Bluebirds left, a Northern Mockingbird took their place on the fence. I also spotted an Eastern Blue Jay in the trees next to the fence but there were too many leaves in the way of my shot to get a good picture. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Female Eastern Bluebird
The “Surprise”! A Black Racer Snake
A Northern Mockingbird
Northern Shoveler Ducks were spotted a few weeks ago with the huge flock of White Pelicans, Seagulls, and Double Crested Cormorants at a local golf course water hazard pond. The Northern Shovelers have that distinctive long broad shovel-like bill. They are medium-sized ducks and are migratory here.
Drakes are often brighter in color than the hens, and most drakes have a darker head that is often greenish brown or greenish purple. The ducks use their big bills to dabble in the mud for insects, worms, snails, and vegetation. They are quite similar to the Mallards in their feeding habits. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
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!
Juvenile Little Blue Heron in White
The Little Blue Heron is a gorgeous wading bird that actually is a member of the egret family of birds! I am showing both the older juvenile in its white morph, and the adults in what probably is its breeding colors (fairly bright purple-blue).
The Little Blue Heron eats fish, frogs, young tender turtles, aquatic snails, tadpoles, crayfish, aquatic insects, eggs, ducklings, and some shoreline rodents and insects. They live around marshy areas of ponds, lakes, springs, and rivers.
I usually see the Little Blue Herons close to the shoreline. The Little Blue Herons are medium in stature and prefer to wade in shallow water. They are expert in flight, too. I see the Little Blue Heron mostly in the early morning or late afternoon. I took these pictures on January 14, 2016, and again on January 16, 2016. I snapped the pictures at the pond on Sumter County Road 466 next to the Walmart at The Villages; and at the Sharon Rose Wiechens Nature Preserve in The Villages, Florida. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Little Blue Heron in blue breeding phase
White Phase Little Blue Heron
Blue Phase Little Blue Heron (Adult)
Adult Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron in Breeding Plumage
White Phase Little Blue Heron (older juvenile)