Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Herons, Tri-colored Herons, and Little Blue Herons are the most commonly seen herons here in The Villages, Florida. The Great Blue Heron is the most frequently seen, followed by the Little Blue Heron. I think I have only seen one Green Heron here and that was a year ago.
All of these herons are wading birds that shuffle along in the shallows of the lakes and ponds to spear fish, frogs, or turtles with their long sharp bills. They also eat larger insects, small lizards, and large aquatic insects or snails.
The herons roost up in tall trees. Many prefer the Cypress Trees here. Some also will roost in the medium-sized trees where there also are Ibis or Egrets. We used to have a large area of roosts on Morse Blvd. (I had photographed it and posted about it many months ago) but that area seems out of favor with the birds in recent months. I don’t know the reason for the big move. It could be a case of too much threat from coyotes or other predators. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of the photo.
Little Blue Heron
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of these photos I took yesterday in my yard, Enjoy!
Juvenile White Ibis
White Ibises and Great Egrets are among the many varieties of birds frequenting our shrinking small lakes here in The Villages, FL these days. The Great Egrets are sporting their magnificent breeding plumage now. Quite the beautiful sight! There are several juvenile White Ibises around, too. The youngsters have the brown color mixed in with the white. In a few months, they will turn white.
I took these pictures on Dec. 20, 2016 at Paradise Lake. We are in a drought and the little lake is rapidly drying up. The Boone Park area of the lake is mostly mud flats and Swartz Park is nearly so. The main part of the lake still has a lot of water so all is not dire. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version the picture. Enjoy. Wishing everyone a very happy New Year in 2017!
Adult White Ibis
Great Egret with empty Apple Snail shells on mud flat lake bottom
These Wood Storks were visiting our neighborhood park lake this past week. We recently had some needed rain so our lake has risen a little since I took these pictures on Dec. 4, 2016. I took the pictures at Schwartz Park here in The Villages, FL on Lake Paradise. The birds were standing in mere inches of water in the middle of the lake! I think the fishing was good. There also were White Pelicans, Great Egrets, and a lot of ducks! Please click on the thumbnail image to view a slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Killdeer at the Freedom Pointe Lakes
Killdeer, Great Blue Herons, a Little Blue Heron, and a number of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were all spotted on and in our little lakes here in The Villages, Florida, in the last several days. Additionally, there were Wood Storks, Anhingas, a few Hooded Merganser Ducks, Ring Necked Ducks, Mallards, Egyptian and Canada Geese, and Great Egrets. I think the Killdeer possibly was standing right on its nest in the picture above, but it may also just be some pebbles.
I enjoy going sound to different lakes to check out what kinds of birds are visiting. More and more (and different) birds are arriving during the Winter migration. Just yesterday, I saw an amazing fifty or so Great Egrets plus about twenty Wood Stork out on one of the small park lakes here. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that photo. Enjoy!
Black-bellied Whistling Duck at Swartz Park on Lake Paradise
Little Blue Heron (Boone Park on Paradise Lake)
Great Blue Heron at a Freedom Pointe area lake
Belted Kingfisher on the Suwanee River
Double Crested Cormorants on the Suwanee River
This lovely Florida State Park has a 72 degree F fresh water spring, is on the banks of the Suwanee River, has a wonderful campground, and walking trails with a children’s playground area. I saw many deer, nine, I think. I also saw four armadillos. There were a few wading birds, and songbirds, but there were perhaps a hundred Turkey Vultures (with a few Black Vultures in the bunch).
Almost every large tree on the Suwanee River at the mouth of the Manatee Springs stream, had many vultures perched on it! It is an amazing sight to see a seventy foot tall Cypress tree festooned with buzzards (another name for vultures).
This park is not a zoo and all the animals are wild. I was surprised to see the animals so boldly walking around were people were.
I recommend visiting Manatee Springs State Park. A lovely place with a lot to see in a small park. It is about six miles from the small town of Chiefland where there are several stores and restaurants. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
Probably an Eastern Phoebe
Pied-billed Grebe on the Suwanee River
Juvenile Little Blue Heron at the Manatee Spring
Great Egret at right, Snowy Egret at left
Great Egrets are among the larger of the wading birds, while the Snowy Egret is a much smaller wading bird at about half the size of the Great Egret. The Great Egret has a bright yellow bill and black legs while the Snowy Egret has bright yellow feet, greenish-black coloring in the legs and a black bill. Both of these egrets are wading birds that eat fish, frogs, small tender turtles, aquatic snails and large aquatic insects and worms. The Great Egret also will eat shore-side mice, lizards, small snakes and larger insects.
Both of these birds are very beautiful big white birds! The Snowy Egret has stunningly beautiful plumage in breeding season, and is a real treat to see then. I took the picture in The Villages, FL on a local lake a few weeks ago. You really can see the difference in the size of both birds! Here in The Villages, in central Florida, we often have Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and the flocking Cattle Egrets. Only on occasion does one see the much rarer Reddish Egret (which closely resembles a lighter Little Blue Heron). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Great Egrets, Snowy Egret, Wood Storks