These lovely and friendly wild (sort of, anyway) burros or donkeys and the tiny Prairie Dogs were spotted last month at the beautiful Custer State Park in South Dakota near Mount Rushmore. These are the last of my series of photographs from my visit to the park this Summer.
I spotted the animals along the side of the road and in a great big pasture on the Wildlife Loop road. The burro’s come to the roadway to beg (successfully) for carrots or apples from the park’s visitors. They seem very tame but one must remember they are still wild animals! So neat to also see many Prairie Dogs chirping their warning when we walked a short way into the fields. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of each picture. Enjoy!
Osprey on Enrique Dr. near Golf Course
I took all of these pictures here in The Villages, FL during the past two weeks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. By the way, the lakes here in The Villages are now full or nearly so! Hooray! Enjoy!
Sandhill Crane on CR 466 near Morse Blvd.
Anhinga at Freedom Pointe Lake
Black Bellied Whistling Ducks at Schwartz Park on Lake Paradise
White Ibis at Lake Mira-mar
Wood Stork at Lake Mira-mar
A Cattle Egret
Cattle Egrets, Snowy Egrets and the Great Egrets have been here in The Villages, Florida this past week at several park lakes. I spotted the Cattle and Snowy Egrets at the Freedom Pointe lakes, and the Great Egret at the gazebo at Boone Park on Paradise Lake.
The Cattle Egrets have only recently arrived here. They usually are found in cattle and horse pastures attending those animals. The Great Egret is large and has the long yellow bill. The Snowy Egret is the small one with the yellow feet and black bill. The Cattle Egrets are also small but have a few small rust-colored patches of feathers on the head and chest and sides in the breeding season.
All of these egrets enjoy insects with the Snowy and Great Egret mostly liking aquatic animals, insects and the occasional small mouse, lizard or snake. I have never yet seen a Reddish Egret here in The Villages, but you never know. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
A Great Egret Cools Off
The Snowy Egret
I saw Pronghorn at the lovely Custer State Park near Mount Rushmore in South Dakota in late June, 2017. The big deer-like animals are sometimes referred to as American Antelope or Antelope.
This herd of Pronghorn freely roam the huge pasture-lands of this state park but are mostly away from the bison. They sometimes run near fences which is shown on one of these photographs. The big grasslands are fenced because the bison are occasionally kept in that area in rotation.
Pronghorn eat grasses. There are plenty of grasses for them now. These are grazing animals. In my experience, the Pronghorn are pretty wary of people and are most often away from roads. I was glad to have my zoom lens! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photograph. Enjoy!
I have just returned from a family vacation to South Dakota. A highlight of the adventure was a visit to the ever-so-lovely Custer State Park in the Mount Rushmore area of the state.
This state park is chock-full of large wild animals. Yes, the enormous pastures where the buffalo (American Bison) roam are fenced but the animals really do run freely in the grasslands. A road for tourists to drive through the area is the best way to see the bison, pronghorn, deer, prairie dogs, and the friendly wild donkeys that call the park home.
I have been to this park three times now and enjoy it quite a lot! I want to wish everyone a happy Independence Day tomorrow (July 4th). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of each picture. Enjoy!
Little Blue Heron at Ochlockonee River State Park, Florida
I spotted these Little Blue Herons at the little lake behind Freedom Pointe in The Villages, FL at a vernal pool in the campground at the Ochlockonee River State Park near St. Mark’s National Wildlife Sanctuary in North-Central Florida, and also at both Schwartz and Boone Parks in The Villages at Lake Paradise (which is now refilling with water). I saw these beautiful big wading birds within the last month (Schwartz and Boone herons possibly with Snowy Egrets or juvenile herons, on Wednesday).
The Little Blue Herons start as white juveniles and as they age, they turn a beautiful purple blue with olive-green legs and feet. They are much more of a blue hue than the similar-looking Reddish Egret.
The Little Blue Herons eat frogs, fish, crawfish, small turtles, baby alligators, ducklings, and occasionally aquatic snails, worms, and larger aquatic insects. They generally spear their prey with their sharp long bill and then gulp the food down. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Little Blue Heron at Boone Park in The Villages, FL
Little Blue Heron at Schwartz Park in The Villages, FL
Little Blue Heron at Ochlockonee River State Park in Florida
Snowy Egret with Little Blue Heron at Freedom Pointe in The Villages, FL
Little Blue Heron at Freedom Pointe in The Villages, FL
This group of Sandhill Cranes was spotted a few weeks ago, on the Arnold Palmer Legends golf course in The Villages, FL. All in all, I spotted eleven Sandhill Cranes that day in four different places. Most of these eleven cranes were browsing for food in the grassy areas on the apron of a golf course near a paved golf cart (multi-modal) path. The smaller of the cranes by the way, is a juvenile, called a “Colt”.
Sandhill Cranes mostly eat larger insects, snails, worms, grains and seeds, small frogs, small fish and they will also nibble on grasses and certain plants.
We seem to have a stable group of native Sandhill Cranes here in The Villages area. I really enjoy seeing these large rather majestic birds. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!