The fishing must have been quite good as a couple of days ago I spotted a Tri-colored Heron, a Snowy Egret, a pair of Pied-billed Grebes, and later, some Hooded Mergansers all trying to catch their lunch in the shallows of a little park lake near here. All really love eating small fish, tadpoles, frogs, small turtles, and aquatic snails.
This particular little lake also has a few small resident alligators competing and preying so I think the wading birds are pretty careful – I know I was! This arm of the lake is behind the Veteran’s Memorial near Spanish Square and next to the famous golf cart bridge over highway 441. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
American White Ibises are lovely goofy big wading birds. The many flocks here in my area frequent the little park lakes during the day. They have unfortunately learned to beg from well-meaning tourist visitors and unaware residents who treat them to bread, crackers or cereal as if they were park ducks. I do not participate in this and most folks here don’t but these ibises are conditioned to know that generally golf cart noises mean chow is here. By the way, it is generally illegal to feed exotic birds (Ibis, heron, egret, limpkin, spoonbills, stork, crane among others) in Florida.
The brown-colored ibis is a juvenile. They are especially attractive. As they age, their feathers will be replaced with the white and black ones that are the adult colors. Ibises mostly eat plants but also eat aquatic snails, small aquatic insects, worms, and occasionally very small fish or tadpoles.
I took these pictures here yesterday afternoon at two nearby small lakes. The ibises actually come up to people and are not wary at all. The have become really park pet animals but are still wild and free. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Southern Bald Eagle
Little Blue Heron
This nature preserve is part of The Villages, Florida in a new area to the South end of the development. I went to the preserve on December 15, 2015 and enjoyed seeing American Coots, a Little Blue Heron, a Bald Eagle (up on the high tension electric tower), a Red-bellied Woodpecker, the Sherman’s Fox Squirrels, a number of ducks in the distance, and Meadowlarks.
In the past, I have also seen Great Egrets, and a White Tailed Deer (across on the far side of the lake). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. By the way, it was raining lightly when I was at the preserve. P.S. I saw a huge flock of White Pelicans arrive at the small neighborhood lake near my home this afternoon. I hope to get some pictures taken while the birds are still around. Wildlifewatcher
Scenic View of the Far Shore
Southern Bald Eagle
Sherman’s Fox Squirrel
Observation Tower and Deck
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and Hooded Merganser Ducks have been around in the local ponds and small lakes here. I enjoy watching both but tend to be really wowed by the brown, black and white cuties with their vivid pink bills (you know which I mean). Yes, the ducks here are charming! The Hooded Mergansers are migratory here while the whistlers may be local to the region.
The Hooded Mergansers are diving ducks and fish by diving down to catch small fish, frogs, tadpoles, crayfish, large aquatic snails, small tender turtles or larger aquatic insects. The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are more open to eating both meat and vegetation. They are like their cousins the Mallards in that aspect. Both of these ducks are excellent fliers!
I took these pictures here in my neighborhood and in a nearby neighborhood during the last several weeks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Merry Christmas! I won’t be posting on Friday but will catch up on Saturday. See you then!
Lesser Scaup Ducks have been here in a small flock for the last few weeks. They are migratory Winter visitors to our lakes and ponds. These cute medium-sized diving ducks are beautiful with the drakes being basic tuxedo black, and white and a touch of barred grey. The hens are a lovely dark and light brown. Both have broad blue bills.
The Lesser Scaups like the conditions in fresh water better than that of salt water, which is a major difference between them and the Greater Scaups. I took these pictures on December 17, 1015 and again on December 18, 2015. This post and the one I will write for Wednesday, will be about ducks. No post on Christmas but I will catch up on Saturday. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
This Tri-color Heron lives along the shore of a small park lake a couple of blocks behind the Sharon Morse auditorium near The Villages. I usually see American Ibises and sometimes a Great Egret, Anhinga, or Wood Storks there at that lake. That little lake also is inhabited by one or more Alligators! Occasionally there are also various ducks around the shore too.
The Tri-color Heron is a medium-sized heron. The Tri-color Heron eats fish, aquatic snails, tadpoles, frogs, small turtles, aquatic worms, larger insects, and occasionally, duck eggs or newly hatched ducklings. Once in awhile, this heron will go hunting on shore and will catch small lizards, mice, snakes, and even land insects but mostly it enjoys aquatic foods. I took these pictures on Dec. 3, 2015. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy! Wishing all who celebrate, a happy Hanukkah!
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are here in our region in many spots. My own neighborhood’s little lake has perhaps fifty around. I was happy to see some older juveniles with the flock. The youngsters have the blue-pink bill. Their bill turns bright pink as they mature.
The whistlers mostly enjoy eating aquatic plants, shoreline tender grasses and grains, and will also sometimes eat snails, worms, insects, and tadpoles.
By the way – the White Pelicans have arrived in my area. I was at our little neighborhood park yesterday and saw a few pelicans at the tiny residential lake. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
P.S. A huge thank you to my favorite archery store, Lancaster Archery Supply (one of the largest Internet and offline archery shops). I do not hunt but rather I do recurve target archery as a master’s division archer. The company was nice enough to give me a nice prize as a result of a Facebook give-away.
Great Egrets are wonderful big white wading birds. These regal-looking birds live and hunt around bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, marshes, and rivers. They hunt for fish, frogs, tadpoles, crayfish, turtles, aquatic snails, ducklings, duck and goose eggs and sometimes land-based animals such as mice, lizards, and the occasional small snake.
We have Great Egrets here in my area as I live close to several small lakes and ponds. I often see the Great Egrets with the American White Ibises or sometimes with their smaller cousins, the Snowy Egrets. I took these pictures in Lake and Sumter Counties, Florida in the last couple of weeks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Whistlers (Black-bellied Whistling Ducks), Mallards, Hooded Mergansers, Florida Mottled Ducks, and yes, a lone Lesser Scaup duck, were all spotted this past week here in ponds and lakes in my area. I am seeing more and more small flocks of migrating ducks around lately.
I have been told that more will be arriving including my very favorite, the Buffleheads! I sure will be happy if I get to see some of those around the area’s small lakes and ponds! I usually go out bird watching with the camera at about dusk as that is when I have more free time. I hope you enjoy seeing these beautiful ducks as much as I do. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger image. Enjoy!
Black Bellied Whistling Ducks
Whistlers, Mottled Ducks, Mallard Ducks, with Common Cormorants and an American White Ibis
A Lesser Scaup Duck
A flock of Hooded Merganser Ducks
A drake Mallard Duck
Great Blue Herons are pretty commonly seen in my area of Central Florida around ponds, lakes, canals, and marshes. I live in Lake County, Florida near many small lakes and ponds. It took me aback at first to see wading birds up near neighborhoods, and shopping areas here. I snapped one of these pictures at a small pond adjacent to a restaurant parking area on Highway 466 near The Villages, (In the area of Walmart) and took the rest of the photographs last evening at Lake Paradise, a small neighborhood park lake in The Villages.
The Great Blue Heron is a large wading bird that mostly eats fish, frogs, small turtles, rodents, ducklings, duck and goose eggs, and larger insects. It wades in the shallow water or strolls along lawns to hunt. I have often seen the Great Blue Herons just perched on small fishing docks resting. The Great Blue Herons mostly roost in large stick nests in huge evergreen trees. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger photo. Enjoy! P.S. More and different ducks are arriving here. I recently saw a flock of Hooded Mergansers here on my neighborhood lake, and also a Lesser Scaup. Pictures will be posted soon. Wildlifewatcher