Beyond the BackyardCircle B Bar Reserve

Our First Afternoon Visit to the Circle B Bar Reserve

Dyeyo and I made an unusual late-afternoon trip to the Circle B Bar Reserve today, hoping to get some fun sunset shots. It was strange to be there in the afternoon instead of the early morning. The differences in lighting almost made it feel like a totally new place.

When we first got out to Heron Hideout, we were greeted by this Gray Catbird, who posed pretty on a nice high branch for us.

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

We were hoping to see the tiny baby Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks posted on Flickr a few days ago. When we didn’t find them on Heron Hideout, we decided to head up Marsh Rabbit Run. We were pleased to find our set of three Indigo Buntings in their usual trees partway up the trail. Wouldn’t it be great if they hung around all winter and we got to see them turn blue in the spring? :)

Indigo Buntings

Indigo Buntings

An Eastern Phoebe called to us from high in a tree. As we watched, he hopped down to a lower branch, grabbed something, then returned to his perch to eat it. We couldn’t figure out what exactly his dinner was, but he sure enjoyed it. (Next time, little guy, try to perch on a branch that doesn’t have distracting branches between you and the camera!)

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

As we reached Wading Bird Way, we were greeted by hundreds of Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks. They periodically flew in groups of twenty or so over Wading Bird Way to settle out in the marsh for the night. We had no idea that there were so many down there!

Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks

Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks

We were surprised by the number of Black-Crowned Night Herons; we must have seen at least four or five. Then we remembered that their name is night heron for a reason…we’re much more likely to see them in the evening than in the mornings!

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Black-Crowned Night Heron

It was fun to see Circle B at night, but we decided that we preferred the morning, both for lighting conditions and for bird activity levels. As we hurried to get back to our cars before it got totally dark, we saw three Sand Hill Cranes (Dyeyo’s “baby” and family?) roosting for the night. We had a feeling we’d find them in the exact same places tomorrow morning at sunrise…

Species list: Anhinga, Bald Eagle, Black-Bellied Whistling Duck, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Common Moorhen, Double-Crested Cormorant, Eastern Phoebe, Glossy Ibis, Gray Catbird, Great Blue Heron, House Wren, Indigo Bunting, Northern Mockingbird, Osprey, Palm Warbler, Sand Hill Crane, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, White Ibis, Wood Stork