L.A. LOOKS Wildlife Corner Photo & Article By Barbara Ann Comer The Great Horned Owl is bird more likely to be heard than seen in Lake Ashton. Residents outside at dawn and dusk may actually glimpse one of these majestic owls. They occur in most of North America and are known as the "hoot owl." Not all owls actually "hoot," but the Great Horned does. The male's higher voice calls out and the deep-voiced female replies. In the hawk and owl world the females are larger than the males. Great Horned Owls have nested in Lake Ashton and are agreeable neighbors helping with rodent control. They are a striking bird with piercing yellow eyes, brown, black and white mottled feathers and "ear tufts" which aren't ears at all. Asymmetrically placed ears and a facial disk help these owls triangulate sounds to find their prey at night. Seen in flight, they resemble a barrel with wings. Scene About Town Many Lake Ashton residents enjoy fishing in the community's ponds. Because of the frequency of herbicide and fertilizer treatments that may cause run-off into the ponds, the district has a catch and release policy for all fish caught in ponds in Lake Ashton. Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, channel catfish, and Tilapia are the most common fish species in ponds. Largemouth Bass are fun to catch and are a popular sport fish in the community. These fish are predators that need a lot of small fish to eat in order to stay healthy and grow. A Bluegill is an example of a prey species. Tilapia is an invasive fish native to Africa. This species is a warm-water fish that cannot survive in water temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Residents may notice dead Tilapia along their pond's shore line during cold spells. Email Matt with any questions or concerns at mfisher@lakeashtoncdd.com. Send a picture of any fish caught in ponds or lakes in Lake Ashton, along with your name, the lake or pond that it was caught in, as well as the type of fish caught and any measurements (length and/or weight) to valerie@lakeashtoncdd.com to be featured in the next edition of the LA Times. We would like to see your smiley face as well, so have someone snap a pic of you or take a selfie with your fish! Seen shufflin' down to the Clubhouse for some square dancing! Photo by Dave Marsh. Always remember to observe and photograph alligators only from a distance. Remember, they’re an important part of Florida’s natural history as well as an integral component of aquatic ecosystems. It is illegal to feed or harass alligators. If you encounter any alligator that you believe poses a threat to people, pets or property, 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286). WHAT FISH ARE LIVING IN LAKE ASHTON PONDS?

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