Tuscawilla Park in Ocala, Florida has two medium-sized ponds that have a variety of water birds, and wading birds in and around them. I was there at Tuscawilla Park on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 in the afternoon for about five minutes. No, I did not see hundreds of birds as I have in past visits during the Winter months. Many birds have gone elsewhere on their migratory journey.
I did see several Great Egrets, a couple of Wood Storks, Snowy Egrets, a lot of White Ibis, a lot of Common Cormorants, a few Wood Ducks, a few Muscovy Ducks and a Great Blue Heron. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Great Egret, Snowy Egrets, and Double Crested Cormorants
Juvenile White Ibis
Adult White Ibis
This group of Wood Storks was here in December but several are still around the area. The Wood Storks are genuinely odd-looking sweet big birds! I love seeing them here.
Wood Storks roost in trees but wade in shallow water to hunt for crustaceans, aquatic snails, larger aquatic insects, small fish, shore-side large land insects, and worms. The Wood Storks also eat grains and plants on occasion.
Mostly the Wood Storks just stand around. That seems to really be the case. Wood Storks are very passive calmer birds and that helps make them easy to photograph. I sometimes wonder what they are thinking and doing? Fascinating birds. By the way, the younger birds have lighter-colored pink feet (Wood Storks of all ages do have pink feet) and lighter-colored bills. I have read that Wood Storks may fly some fifty miles from their own roost area to find enough food. That seems amazing! They sure are good at flying! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Wood Storks, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Double Crested Cormorants, Ring-necked Ducks, and Hooded Mergansers all visited the little park lake (Paradise Lake) here in the past two weeks.
An interesting thing about Wood Storks is how they sit. Their knees bend so that their lower legs rest in front – quite the opposite from many animals. and of course, people.
I took these pictures on Dec. 21-22, 2016. Most of these water birds are meat-eaters and they certainly had easy fishing since our lake is drying up (we are in a drought). I wish all who celebrate, a happy Hanukkah. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy! Happy New Year!
Great Blue Heron
Hooded Merganser Ducks
Double Crested Cormorant
Great Egret in Breeding Plumage
Flocks of Sandhill Cranes, White Pelicans and Wood Storks have recently visited our little neighborhood park lake (Paradise Lake) here in The Villages, FL. Because we have had so little rainfall, the lake has rapidly been shrinking and the fishing seems to be the big draw for the migratory wading and water birds!
It was quite funny for me yesterday to shoot a round of archery here, while a large group of White Pelicans flew right over the lake-side archery range! A most pleasant distraction for sure.
I drive past Swartz Park on my way home from my daily archery practice so I get to notice when there are large gatherings of the wading or water birds on the lake. I took these pictures on December 21, and Dec. 22, 2016. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy! I want to wish all a Merry Christmas! I will continue the second part of this three part series on Monday.
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!
This migratory flock of Wood Storks was seen on Nov. 17, 2016 at the small lake right behind Freedom Pointe assisted living facilities on El Camino in The Villages, FL. The placid storks were among a throng of egrets, herons, ducks, geese and cormorants at the two side by side little lakes.
The Wood Storks are a threatened species that has been known to fly as far as fifty miles from its nest in search of foods like: aquatic worms, snails, small fish, small turtles, frogs and fish or frog eggs.
The Wood Storks are so calm and enjoyable to watch. They seem to be curious about people but are unfazed when people are in their vicinity. They are not “Tame” but are wild exotic birds. It is very important that people to not feed Wood Storks as it will cause them to become dependent on people’s hand-outs and then the birds will not hunt naturally as much (and the handouts may prove unhealthy for their system). Another thing is that it is against Florida law to feed exotic birds. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!
Wood Storks; a Great Blue Heron; Great Egrets; Snowy Egrets; Double-crested Cormorants; Pied-billed Grebes; a Little Blue Heron and a small flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were all vying for a meal of tasty fish, tadpoles, frogs, small turtles; or larger aquatic insects in the lovely little Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL on Sunday, October 23, 2016.
This is quite an unusual sight to find so many varieties and numbers of wading birds all in one spot. Most of these birds are migrating and are just stopping over to rest in the small welcoming lake.
In these feeding frenzies, I have seen it be common for the herons, egrets, and storks to follow what is happening with the cormorants in the water. By the way, later in the day, I also saw a Tri-colored Heron at Swartz Park.
I took these pictures from Paradise Park and Swartz Park on the small private residential lake. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Wood Storks, Snowy Egret