We commented earlier on the lack of Muscovy ducklings on our lake this spring as compared to the three past years we have lived in Florida. Whatever the cause, it appeared to be a local aberration, as the ducks seemed to be reproducing normally on other lakes in our area. The local delay in nesting success may have been related to the social disruption that attended the death of El Presidente, the mean old drake who had ruled over our lakeside back yard for at least two years. Yesterday, the hen that had been incubating a dozen eggs under our cocoplum emerged to show off her new brood.
The rains have already brought our lake levels up to normal and sunfish are tending their circular nests along the shore. This one’s dark gill extensions and the black spot at the base of its dorsal fin tentatively identify it as a Bluegill.
The water is unusually clear, and large schools of 2 to 3 inch fish with 7-8 vertical body stripes are swimming all along the shore. Not sure of the species, but they may be young exotic Spotted Tilapia– I welcome others to help me identify them. Whatever their species, these fish are now attracting good numbers of herons.
Given such an abundance of food, this Tricolored Heron dashes back and
forth, seemingly unable to settle on any one feeding place at the water’s edge.
Here, it responds to the disturbance created by a large Grass Carp foraging along the shore.
A wary Great Egret denied me any closeups, so I settled for this view of him at about 100 yards.
This Little Blue Heron was more cooperative.