Beyond the BackyardCircle B Bar Reserve

Lots of Green Herons at the Circle B Bar Reserve this Morning

It’s amazing how every day at the Circle B Bar Reserve is a little bit different.  Last week we saw lots of juvenile Great-Crested Flycatchers.  Today we didn’t see a single one, but we saw five Green Herons (and we usually see one of those per visit at most).  Nature’s fun with all its surprises.

We arrived in the middle of a beautiful sunrise.  It’s only first thing in the morning when the beams of light dance across the lake to illuminate the owl’s tree by the boardwalk.  This morning the owl was sitting out on a front branch, as if he was waiting for two nice photographers to come along to see him!  It was funny — every time I said “hey Mr. Owl, will you please turn your head this way for me?”, he actually did it! — at least, until Dyeyo came next to me and wanted to get his head shot!

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Our favorite Marsh Rabbit Run trail is still closed, due to the alligator nests right up on the trail.  The signs say that the trail might re-open at the end of August.  In the meantime, we’re spending more time on the Shady Oak and Alligator Alley trails.  This morning a family of wild turkeys, which we usually see mid-way up the Shady Oak trail, was in the grass right behind the Visitor Center.  Unfortunately it was still too dark for decent pictures.

The Marsh Rabbit Run trail may be closed, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t see Marsh Rabbits in other places.  This little guy was too busy eating grass to care about the click, click of my camera shutter.

Marsh Rabbit

Marsh Rabbit

There are so many Ospreys along the Alligator Alley trail, especially where the trail bends away from Lake Hancock. I laughed when I saw this Black Vulture and Osprey pair sitting together in a tree.  They seemed to be keeping a close eye on each other.

Black Vulture and Osprey - the Odd Couple?

Black Vulture and Osprey - the Odd Couple?

The Osprey jumped every time the Black Vulture moved.  Here I caught him in a rather undignified pose:

Skittish Osprey

Skittish Osprey

We spent a few minutes watching the egrets and herons at the edge of Lake Hancock.  Those birds are so much more skittish than the birds on Marsh Rabbit Run.  We found a Snowy Egret fishing for his breakfast, like last week.  It’s strange to watch the water birds flying with their legs straight underneath them, instead of tucked up under them, like most birds.  The Snowys especially remind me of water skiers as they drag their toes through the water.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

A couple of Wood Storks flew by as we stood there.  By that point in the morning, the sun was climbing rapidly into the sky, and there was a lot of backlight.  I kinda liked the resulting silhouette:

Wood Storks

Wood Storks

Sushi for breakfast, anybody?  This Osprey was certainly enjoying his!  There is something about this pose that reminds me of my cat, Squirt, when he has his paw on a lizard and looks up to me as if to say, “See?  I caught it!”

Osprey with Fish

Osprey with Fish

We started to see Green Herons as we approached the end of the Alligator Alley trail, where it intersects with Heron Hideout.  One sat on a log and fished for us for a few minutes.  I think these are the “Inspector Gadgets” of the birdie world…look at how long that neck can extend!

Green Heron

Green Heron

A few steps later, we saw a few more Green Herons.  This one posed nicely in the sun for me.

Green Heron

Green Heron

We’ve heard from other birdwatchers that there have been some Northern Parulas sighted.  It’s still a bit early for that.  But I wouldn’t object to an early start to the fall migration! :)