Beyond the BackyardCircle B Bar Reserve

Quiet Morning at the Circle B Bar Reserve

Gotta love off-Fridays. I went to Circle B this morning to check on the fall migration status. It was a pretty quiet morning.

Walking on Heron Hideout out towards Alligator Alley, I enjoyed watching some Glossy Ibises fly over. I got some decent flight shots. Next time I should turn on the fill flash.

Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis

I saw more Double-Crested Cormorants than I have in months. Lots of them were doing fly-bys overhead, on Heron Hideout and on Wading Bird Way. Unfortunately I didn’t get a great picture.

The Sandhill Crane family with “our” juvenile was honking out in the marshes.

I was amused to see the “fall colors” in this image of an Anhinga sunning his wings. :)

Anhinga

Anhinga

Since Marsh Rabbit Run is still closed, I hiked the Eagle Roost to get out to Wading Bird Way. I was pleasantly surprised to see several Eastern Meadowlarks back there. In the springtime there was a month or so when the pine trees were simply covered in meadowlarks. We haven’t seen many since then. The meadowlarks are pretty skittish, so it’s hard to get close for a good picture. This was my best shot from today.

Eastern Meadowlark

Eastern Meadowlark

The Bald Eagles are definitely back to their nest. I’ve seen them for several consecutive weeks now. It’s a shame the nest isn’t a little closer to the path, for photographer convenience! :)

Eagle Nest

Eagle Nest

On Wading Bird Way, I came across a small flock of Common Moorhens, probably about 10 juveniles and a couple of adults. They were all peacefully feeding when one of the juveniles caught a fish. It was a decent-sized fish, and it quickly attracted the attention of his siblings, who all gathered around. “Gimme, gimme, gimme!!” The fish-holder swam to the left, then to the right, then to the left, then to the right… He didn’t seem to know quite what to do with the fish, but he sure wasn’t letting go! One of his older siblings grabbed the fish away, then the original bird got it back. I just sat back and laughed.

Common Moorhen with fish

Common Moorhen with fish

Common Moorhen with fish

Common Moorhen with fish

Wading Bird Way was pretty inactive. Probably in part because of the construction vehicles going back and forth occasionally. I didn’t see any migrant shorebirds. There were a couple of Pied-Billed Grebes (I saw three, which is two more than the previous week.) I got a series of shots as a grebe surfaced and shook out his feathers – he looked pretty silly in some of the frames!

Pied-Billed Grebe

Pied-Billed Grebe

I stood on Wading Bird Way for a long time, hoping to practice some fly-by shots. It’s hard to pan at the right rate to a) keep the bird in the frame and b) leave space in front of the bird. I was fairly happy with this Osprey shot (well, it would have been better if he’d had a fish! I told him so. He didn’t care.)

Osprey

Osprey

Back on Heron Hideout, I stopped to look for the baby Purple Gallinules that somebody had pointed out to me. The adults were pretty skittish, and the babies followed suit. The one time they crossed open water, they did it remarkably quickly. Then they stuck to the vegetation, playing “peek a boo” with me. I could follow them by listening to their little calls.

Baby Purple Gallinules - Peek a boo

Baby Purple Gallinules - Peek a boo

There were also a couple of older juvenile Purple Gallinules, who were clearly helping their parents look after the little ones. One posed every so briefly on top of some vegetation:

Juvenile Purple Gallinule

Juvenile Purple Gallinule

I was disappointed not to see the Black-Bellied Whistling ducklings.  What I did see was slightly disturbing – a small alligator was sitting near the bushes where the ducklings usually hide! :-p

I decided not to hike Alligator Alley today – it was just too hot. Gone were the pleasant breezes from last week. I can’t wait for cooler weather and increased migrant activity! Just a few more weeks…

Species list: Anhinga, Black-Bellied Whistling Duck, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Boat-Tailed Grackle, Cardinal, Common Moorhen, Double-Crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, Mourning Dove, Osprey, Pied-Billed Grebe, Purple Gallinule, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Red-Winged Blackbird, Snowy Egret, Tri-Colored Heron, White Ibis