The Florida Mottled Ducklings have made their appearance on lovely little Lake Paradise here in The Villages, FL in recent days. I took these photographs from Schwartz Park last Friday. These ducks are native here in Florida and are very similar to the Mallard Ducks.
The little ducklings are adorable and are still in a very tight single file formation behind their mother. As the ducklings grow, they will venture farther away from mother. I enjoy watching all the baby waterfowl here on our lakes and ponds. It has been very rainy so it is hit or miss whether or not I can get out to do much bird watching. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
This male Hooded Merganser duck was spotted on Sunday March 5, 2017, at the Wal-Mart pond on CR 466 in The Villages, Florida.
The Hooded Merganser was first seen lounging on the base of a large pond fountain. After a moment, the duck slid into the water and paddled off in search of a bite to eat. I did not see a female or hen with the merganser. I did see a few Mallard Ducks there as well as a Little Blue Heron and a single Common Moorhen.
Hooded Mergansers are gorgeous ducks. The males are rusty-brown, white and black in color. Male Hooded Mergansers have a large white hooded region on their heads that they raise when alert or to signal danger to the other ducks. These ducks dive for prey of fish, frogs, crayfish, tadpoles and small tender turtles.
I have been seeing the Hooded Mergansers with some Bufflehead Ducks, and Lesser Scaups around the community in the last couple of weeks. Pretty soon, these migratory ducks will head North. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Here are more photographs of the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (from a week ago at Paradise Lake in The Villages, FL). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that particular photo. Enjoy!
Adult Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
These Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were photographed early last night at almost dusk, on Lake Paradise at Swartz Park and also at Boone Park, here in The Villages, Florida.
The ducklings were all in a line behind Mom and Dad. Those babies are adorable with their dark blue-grey bills and feet. Mom and Dad have the distinctive coral orange-pink bills and feet. This family is among a small flock on the lake.
I think perhaps a resident offers duck chow but I do not know that for a fact. I believe this flock was also here last year. The “Whistlers” come and go from around The Villages, FL. These ducks love eating aquatic insects, tiny fish, aquatic vegetation, tadpoles, worms, and of course, grain. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Adult Black-bellied Whistling Duck
Juvenile and Adult Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
The Whistler Family
Likely a hybrid Florida Mottled and Mallard Duck
These ducks are Florida Mottled Ducks and hybrid Mallard/Fl Mottled Ducks. I took these pictures on Sept. 7, 2016 at a small private park lake, Lake Paradise, located in The Villages, FL. I took these pictures at Swartz Park and also at Paradise Park. Many times in the late afternoon or early evening, I see ducks at the tiny Swartz Park, on the gazebo/parking lot side. By the way, there sometimes are Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (Whistlers) at that location.
Florida Mottled Ducks and Mallards both are dabbing ducks. They tip their heads down into the water while they search the shallows of lakes, streams, and ponds for various types of aquatic insects and small aquatic animals. These ducks also enjoy eating grain.
The male or drake Mottled Duck has a bright yellow bill. Both genders of the Florida Mottled Duck resemble a hen Black Duck or a hen Mallard a bit. The Florida Mottled Ducks and Mallard Ducks often will interbreed so one can see a hybrid which resembles the Mallard, but is not quite fully Mallard in looks. I always enjoy watching ducks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version. Enjoy!
A few white domestic Pekin Ducks, a lone Mallard drake, and a bunch of hybrid mixes (likely Muscovy and Pekin or Mallard and Pekin) were all happily strolling around the peaceful shoreline of the pond end of Lake Miramar at the Veteran’s Park in The Villages, Florida, near Spanish Springs Square.
I spotted the ducks late in the afternoon this past Sunday. Several ducks were resting under the Rhododendron bushes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version. Enjoy!