These two White Pelicans are among a small number of their large flock that did not follow the flock back up North in late Spring this year. Unusual. I think the birds like the environment here in The Villages, Florida!
I spotted these two (most days there are four pelicans) at the Nancy Lopez Legacy Golf Course driving range pond (on the country club side this time). I photographed the birds from the opposite shore while I also captured pictures of those Egyptian Geese I featured here a few days ago. Yes, that is a Snowy Egret flying past one of the pelicans.
These pelicans eat fish and are usually in the company of Double-crested Cormorants. I only spotted a single cormorant that day at the pond. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Larry The Alligator is a huge old American Alligator that apparently has lived in this pond for most if not all of its life. Larry The Alligator lives in The Villages, Florida in his pond near the Paddock Square in the Brownsville area of The Villages. The pond is a few blocks from the commercial area and is about a block from parking lots. The pond area is fairly large and has a fence with the sign seen below. I took the pictures a few days ago.
As you also can see from one of the photographs, the alligator caused a traffic jam of golf carts! A major event was winding down on the square which is one of the reasons why there also were a lot of folks on the cart path there. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
I saw these Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at Lake Mira Mar in The Villages, FL, on Sept. 7, 2016 and also at Paradise Lake in The Villages on the same day. I enjoy spotting these pretty rust, black, white and pink ducks! They whistle when communicating in similar ways other ducks quack. We are fortunate to have several small flocks of whistlers here at the moment! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of the picture. By the way, my computer has been repaired and I am back to my regular schedule of posts.
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!
This gorgeous Great Blue Heron was one of hundreds of water birds and waders that I spotted at a small pond in The Villages, Florida on April 9, 2016. This pond was in the Evans Prairie area. The Great Blue Heron was pausing during its hunt for a fine dinner of fish, frogs, small turtles, or other small aquatic animals in the pond.
This Great Blue Heron was following a huge flock of White Pelicans as well as many Great Egrets and a Little Blue Heron or two. Lots of birds in a small body of water makes for interesting bird watching, doesn’t it? I think so. I am always glad to see “Old Hank’s” cousins. I do miss Hank Heron, from my days a few years ago, in TN at the little farm. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A Pied-billed Grebe and several Common Moorhens were spotted a few days ago at the lovely Sharon Weichens Preserve in The Villages on Lake Deaton. The Pied-billed Grebe is a small duck-like water bird that dives for fish, frogs, tadpoles, small turtles and larger aquatic insects. The little grebe is shy and pretty wary of people, preferring to dive in the middle of freshwater bodies of water such as ponds and lakes. This grebe has a tan-colored medium-sized bill that has a black wavy stripe along the middle of it.
I enjoy seeing the Common Moorhens here in The Villages. They are similar to Common Coots but instead of having a white fleshy area over their bill, they have a bright red area. The hens are a grayish-brown and the drakes are charcoal grey to black sometimes with a slight purple hue. They are quite similar to Purple Gallinules which are their cousins. These birds eat aquatic plants, and grasses. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
The Pied-billed Grebe
An Observation Deck at the Preserve
Male Common Moorhen
Hen Common Moorhen
Common Moorhen in Flight
Lake Deaton Scenery Viewed from the Preserve
White Pelicans huddled on opposite sides of a small lake here in The Villages, Florida. The small lake is behind the assisted living facilities (Freedom Point complex area) on El Camino Real. This area is accessible by both car and golf cart. There were about sixty or so White Pelicans in each squad of the flock. At times, one or two of the pelicans would hop into the water and paddle across to switch sides. I believe these are a migratory flock and will be joining others to make their long journey North soon.
The big birds eat a lot of fish, tender turtles, frogs and tadpoles. They scoop their prey up in their huge flexible pouch bills. By the way, those pelicans of breeding age, develop a disc shaped growth on the top of their bill. The bill gets darker orange with age, having started out as a tender pink color. I spotted the pelicans on Monday. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
This flock of Cattle Egrets likely is the first huge flock I have seen in breeding plumage. There were about a hundred big birds resting on the banks of the larger pond next to the Walmart in The Villages on CR 441. I have often gone to this pond to check out the wildlife and take pictures there. It is amazing to see such a large number of egrets at once! By the way, there also were about three or four White Ibis mixed-in with that bunch enjoying the delightful pond.
I also spotted two Great Blue Herons, on American Alligator (a small one), several coots, a couple Double Crested Cormorants, a Great White Heron, and a few ducks. This is a busy wonderful pond! The only downside was the trash that blew into the pond area from the street and busy store parking lot. It has been very windy here. I took these pictures on Saturday afternoon, March 26, 2016, at lunch time. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger photo. Enjoy!
This pair of Morning Doves was happily browsing on the ground and then perching on a low wooden rail fence at the beautiful little Four Oaks Park on Morse Ave. in The Villages, Florida. I spotted the serene doves on Sunday afternoon during a quick golf cart visit to the park and nearby Lake Sumter. The park is only accessible by cart, on foot, or by bike via the multi-modal path.
The doves were cooing and seemed quite tame. I think they also like those White Ibises and ducks, get lots of hand-outs from residents and visitors. This little park is a gem that also has a small observation deck overlooking the Lake Sumter marshes. During the visit I also spotted a Little Blue Heron, a Palm Warbler, and an Osprey. It was a nice quick visit! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!