This Little Blue Heron was spotted here in The Villages, Florida at the Santiago golf course pond on Enrique Drive on Saturday evening at about 5:00pm. I was driving around that area trying to look for the Bald Eagles I sometimes spot there, and came upon the heron while it was fishing for its dinner.
This large pond is right up against the street so when the big wading birds or the ducks are present, it is easy to see them. This golf course is closed and under maintenance now so the birds are more at ease being there. The Santiago golf course pond is in a residential area and at the recreation center with parking there for cars and carts.
The Little Blue Herons are around the community but not at every lake or pond. I would say, I see a Little Blue Heron about every few weeks. The White Ibis or Great Blue Herons are much more commonly seen here. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
I spotted this Great Egret at Schwartz Park at Paradise Lake in The Villages, Florida back in mid-June 2017. The Great Egret immediately took off from the shoreline and flew across the lovely lake to the opposite shoreline.
These are such graceful big birds. I think it is a joy to see them in flight! By the way, we have had some significant amounts of rain which is refilling our local lakes and ponds. The lakes here are pretty full now! It is nice to finally see water under docks.
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
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!
I spotted this very placid old Wood Stork standing in the parking lot at the side of Lake Miramar in The Villages, Fl on June 14, 2017.
This beautiful big wading bird is old as evidenced by the very dark horny bill and darker leathery skin on its face and neck.
I have read where some Wood Storks will fly upwards of fifty miles from their nest to obtain food. I doubt this one flew that far, but it is interesting to hear of that fact.
This Wood Stork may have been in the parking lot expecting to be treated to bread or crackers or corn as some folks still feed the ibis crowd and the ducks. I have also previously seen Wood Storks eating human-given food in this place. The bird was evidently attracted by golf carts and cars in the vicinity. I strongly do not recommend feeding exotic birds (It is against the law in many places including Florida). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Great Blue Heron
Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Sandhill Cranes, a Limpkin, a few Wood Storks, and a lot of White Ibis, and Snowy Egrets (not pictured), were all spotted here in The Villages, Florida last month, May, 2017.
We often spot the egrets herons and ibis, but the cranes, wood storks, glossy ibis, and limpkin, are only spotted during certain months of the year (Sandhill Cranes being the most easily seen of this particular group of wading birds). We also get to see Tri-colored Herons and Little Blue Herons on occasion.
These larger wading birds enjoy the many small and medium-sized lakes here in our community where the food is usually abundant. We are recovering from a recent drought so the lakes happily are refilling with recent rains.
Most of these big birds eat aquatic snails, frogs, worms, and small fish. Some of the birds such as Sandhill Cranes also eat grains and seeds. I always enjoy getting out and spotting both songbirds and these big beauties! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
White Pelicans, Great Egret
I spotted this pair of Sandhill Cranes standing next to the golf cart path on Sumter County Road 466 on the Arnold Palmer Legends golf course in The Villages, FL on Sunday night at about 5:30pm.
It is not too unusual to see Sandhill Cranes on the courses here in The Villages. They love browsing for grass, seeds, and insects. Of course the tender grass is easy on their feet and most of the courses have a pond for them to drink from. I think the Sandhill Cranes pictured are Florida natives. We have several breeding pairs in the area. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
This Limpkin has visited the little Lake Mira-Mar in The Villages, FL near Spanish Springs several times. I have previously photographed the big wading bird at this same location. I usually see the Limpkin at the Veteran’s Park area next to the golf cart path at the approach to the golf cart bridge. The bird is pretty secretive and is usually nocturnal so the best times to see it would be early in the morning and at dusk. I took these pictures at dinner-time last night.
Limpkins are a wading bird that love eating the aquatic Apple Snails found in the small lakes here in The Villages. There are not very many Limpkins around at all. I have only seen three (and one of my sightings may well have been this bird at a different spot). The Limpkins are marsh birds that are primarily living here in Florida in the USA.
These birds are vaguely similar in looks to juvenile White Ibis, juvenile Green Herons and Bitterns. All are about the same size and have a streaky brown coloring. The Limpkin the only bird of its family type and is not related to rails or even the cranes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!