Double Crested Cormorants are frequently here on our ponds and lakes in the winter months here in The Villages, Florida. These birds enjoy the warm weather quite a lot and around ponds, lakes, rivers, and both fresh and salt water marsh-lands. Some of these cormorants are natives here but many are migrants from places north of us. I also have spotted Double-Crested Cormorants at marina docks on the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico at Cedar Key here in Florida.
These water birds dive for fish, frogs, baby alligators, tender soft-shelled turtles and larger aquatic insects and aquatic mollusks. At times, Double-crested Cormorants are mixed in near the White Pelicans here. The Double-Crested Cormorants are similar in looks to the slightly smaller Anhinga birds. The Anhingas have a straight bill while there is a downward hook to the tip of the bill on the Double-Crested Cormorants. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Diving for a bit of food
Male Boat-tailed Grackle
Eastern Bluebirds, a Boat-tailed Grackle, a Tufted Titmouse, a lovely pair of Sandhill Cranes and a lot of White Ibis, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Anhingas were all spotted here in The Villages, FL in the last couple of days.
I took the photo of the roosting birds on Morse Blvd. just below Rio Grande, on Monday 2/19/18, at twilight. That roosting area was active for years, and then was abandoned for the last year. This marshland is once again wet, so hundreds of wading birds such as ibis, egrets, herons, and anhingas, are back every night to rest!
I took the photos of the songbirds, here in my neighborhood. The weather has been fine so the birds have been out and about much more! The photograph of the Sandhill Cranes was taken just off of Morse Blvd. along CR 466 along the multi-modal path. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.
White Ibis Heading to the Roost
Female Eastern Bluebird
Tufted titmouse on a Palm
White Pelicans were seen on Freedom Pointe lake, which is the size of a very large pond, this afternoon. It looks as though a lot of molting is going on, doesn’t it? Those are white feathers all over the ground. There is usually a big gathering every winter of these younger White Pelicans at this particular lake.
The pelicans had a few Double-crested Cormorants, some Seagulls, a few White Ibis, and a lone Snowy Egret along with them today. I also noticed a pair of Egyptian Geese on the very far shore (not photographed). This spot is usually a good place to view the pelicans in Jan. and Feb. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
These Great Blue Herons recently were spotted fishing at two lakes here in The Villages, FL. The big herons are tremendous at wading in shallow water to spear fish or frogs with their long sharp bills. They sometimes also dine on mice if the mouse is close to the shore, and same for small snakes and lizards.
The Great Blue Herons fly to the pond, lake, river or marsh, from their rookery in the tops of larger sturdy trees. After fishing, herons will step out of the water, make a short flight up the shoreline, land, and spread their wings in the Sunshine to dry themselves (if necessary) before returning to the hunt or to the roost. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that picture. Enjoy!
Snowy Egrets are here in The Villages, FL, all year around. There also are a number of migratory Snowies here during the winter months. These small egrets fish in the ponds and lakes for smaller fish, frogs, baby alligators, aquatic insects and in the shoreline grasses for small lizards and snakes.
The Snowy Egrets are currently in their long plush breeding plumage. Snowy Egrets have a black bill, yellowish-green legs and bright yellow feet. They are very beautiful wading birds! I am always glad to see the Snowies but they are shy birds and pretty hard to photograph unless one is fairly far away. By the way, our cold weather (and I have a cold) has kept me at home more this past week than I had planned so these photos are those I had taken earlier in the year. I hope to get out soon and take a bunch of pictures here at our local lakes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Bald Eagles, Osprey, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Wood Storks, Anhingas, Little Blue Herons, Trio-colored Herons, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Double-crested Cormorants, Sandhill Cranes, Mottled Ducks, Muscovy Ducks, Mallard Ducks and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks all have been spotted at the lovely pond at the El Santiago Golf Course in The Villages, Fl this year.
I often can spot several larger birds here and am usually rewarded with good sightings. There is easy access to the pond from Enrique Drive or the recreation center’s parking lot. By the way, the Bald Eagles sometimes perch on the electric line towers both on the golf course and just down the street. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
At El Santiago Golf Course Pond, The Villages, FL
At Mallory Hill Golf Course Pond, The Villages, FL
Great Blue Herons, that is! Ha! I have spotted a few Great Blue Herons around the community’s ponds in the last few days and have enjoyed photographing these rather majestic wading birds.
The Great Blue Herons eat fish, frogs, turtles, baby alligators, snails, worms, mice, small snakes, lizards, and larger insects. We have had a lot of rain this past week, so the hunting for worms in lawns around the lakes and ponds is particularly easy for the wading birds at the moment. By the way, it is pretty unusual to see a Great Blue Heron on a lawn other than immediately at water’s edge. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Near Lake Sumter Landing, The Villages, FL
At Schwartz Park on Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL