Even though this man-made pond serves to provide water for a North Central Florida golf course, it has become a favorite of many species of birds. Among the birds I have observed by the pond or adjacent nature trail are the Great Blue Heron, Wood Storks, Sand Hill Cranes, Ibis, Egrets, Cormorants,Mallard Ducks, some Egyptian and Snow Geese, Turkey Buzzards, Hawks, Kestrals, a Piliated Woodpecker or two, and a Bald Eagle as well as a seasonal visitor, the American White Pelican.
I was familiar with the Brown Pelican as it enjoys the coastal waters along South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island, but had never seen the White Pelican until last year on a river trip up the Mississippi. The White Pelican is a large sturdy bird that glides across the water searching from the surface for its next fish dinner. Once the prey is spied, down goes the beak, head and sometimes most of the body to retrieve the victim. The pelican is a fast swimmer that propels itself much like a goose or swan. It is a good flier too and while in flight, one can see its black-tipped wing feathers.
The flocks fish the pond from corner to corner and once they have devoured all the available food stock, move on to the next pond. Last year they stayed on this little water body and its sister ponds for 2 1/2 months from late January through March before they moved on.
Nestled along the back side of the pond is a Par 3 hole. You would think that since the pond is an attraction for so many species of birds, the rare Golf Birdie would be among them but alas it seems to be the one missing specie. I understand they have been spotted from time to time in the area but not on my watch. I will keep a look out with my range finder and let you know if I find one. I’ll circle it on my card.
Like with most birds, I quite enjoy pelicans, as long as they don’t come near me
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