At the Walmart Buffalo Ridge Pond
The Red-winged Blackbirds are here at the freshwater marshes around The Villages, FL now. I have spotted these gorgeous male Red-winged Blackbirds in many spots around the lakes and ponds. The birds often hunt for insects to eat by landing on larger lily pads, Cattail Reeds, and Willow Trees. The female is a much less vividly colored brown bird resembling a female Cowbird, Grackle, Starling or even a larger sparrow. The males have vivid, deep orange-red and yellow bars on the shoulders.
Red-winged Blackbirds dine on insects, worms, spiders, and during the Winter and early Spring, they add seeds and grains to their diet. The Red-winged Blackbirds can be noisy when there are a lot of them around. These birds are commonly spotted in many places throughout the United States. I was happy to have seen the handsome males at the Walmart “Buffalo Ridge” pond off of CR 466, and also at the Lake Deaton area Sharon Weichen Nature Preserve in The Villages, FL.
In Flight at the Walmart Pond
At the Walmart Pond
At the Sharon Weichens Nature Preserve
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!
This Little Blue Heron was hunting for its dinner in the shallow waters on the marshland edge of Lake Sumter in The Villages, Florida at “Sunrise Point”.
The Little Blue Heron like its larger cousin, the Great Blue Heron, eats fish, frogs, crayfish, small turtles, aquatic snails, water fowl eggs, mice, and larger insects. I did not see this particular bird actually get any prey but it sure did try! I had a good view from a raised wooden deck platform in the park and also from the lawn on another part of the small park on the edge of the marsh.
The Little Blue Heron is a small purple-blue heron that often has a juvenile white phase where it closely resembles an egret. I really enjoyed watching this bird and am thrilled to live near many ponds and lakes where there are many wading and water birds around. I took these pictures last night at dusk (November 2, 2015). Please click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
Alligators made themselves quite present in the two foot deep waters of the marsh at the Paynes Prairie State Preserve near Gainesville, Florida on Saturday, April 5, 2014. I was there late in the afternoon when I spotted five adult and one older juvenile American Alligators. I would not be surprised if there were many more Alligators around as I heard many bellow-like grunts from all over the acres.
This park is a very large place with most of the area I was near, swampy marshland. It had rained several days earlier and the area looked flooded. I think it is breeding season for the Alligators. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the thumbnail image. Enjoy!