Beyond the BackyardCircle B Bar Reserve

Windy Morning at the Circle B Bar Reserve

Hundreds of White Ibis took to the air this morning over the Circle B Bar Reserve. The cold and the wind kept most of the birds under cover, but the White Ibises seemed to know how to navigate despite the gusts.

White Ibises

White Ibises

On Heron Hideout, the marsh on the left is completely dry, and it seems surreal. We need a good rain to get the water level back to normal. I spied a couple of small birds running around over the dry land, and took a couple of very bad pictures (looking straight into the rising sun). The birds were Killdeer, a species I’ve never seen before at Circle B (although they are pretty common.)

Killdeer

Killdeer

We were happy to see the baby Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks again, at the intersection of Heron Hideout and Marsh Rabbit Run. As usual, the parents had the babies tucked away in the vegetation. I guess they are not really “babies” anymore, but “juveniles.” Birds grow up so quickly!

Black-Bellied Whistling Duck family

Black-Bellied Whistling Duck family

The whistling ducks were the other birds who were not deterred by the winds. We saw several little Flight School circles, where parents and juveniles flew in circles, calling each other like crazy.

Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks (Adults)

Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks (Adults)


Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks (Juveniles)

Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks (Juveniles)

There were little birds in the trees, like Palm Warblers and Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers. They weren’t as plentiful as usual, though. I guess if I were a tiny bird and it was super windy outside, I wouldn’t venture very far from home, either!

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Eastern Phoebes made themselves heard all throughout the marsh. As flycatchers, they like to sit on the tops of trees, looking for insects. Often that makes for interesting portraits, featuring the bird’s posterior! I was happy when this one landed right in front of me. Too bad he was in such dark shadow…it wasn’t really as gloomy out as this picture might make you think.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

As we neared the end of Marsh Rabbit Run and turned onto Wading Bird Way, there were a bunch of Wood Storks that flew overhead. They seemed to be roosting in the far end of the marsh, along with three Roseate Spoonbills. As Dyeyo says, it’s a shame that God gave these birds such ugly heads, when the rest of their bodies are actually quite pretty and graceful (in flight, if not during landing!)

Wood Stork

Wood Stork

On Wading Bird Way, we saw a decent-sized flock of small birds flying over the marsh. The underside of their wings flashed silver as they flew. At the time I thought they might be Tree Swallows, but when I got home and zoomed in on the pictures, I’ve changed my mind. I think they are Sandpipers (there’s not enough detail to say which kind). We were just saying today that we’re looking forward to the return of the winter wading birds… :)

Sandpipers

Sandpipers

There are always Palm Warblers that like to hop in the bushes along Wading Bird Way.

Palm Warblers

Palm Warblers

We hiked the Alligator Alley trail, but didn’t expect to see much with all the wind. This Limpkin posed for us:

Limpkin

Limpkin

We did not see the Cuckoo or the otters in Al’s favorite spot. But I might have seen something even better. I’m 90% sure that the little bird who hopped into the vegetation, posed for me for a second, and then hopped down, was a female Painted Bunting. The bird was pale green, had the right beak for a bunting, and was the right small size. I was disappointed not to get a picture. Maybe next week!

Species list: Anhinga, American Coot, American Crow, Bald Eagle, Black-Bellied Whistling Duck, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Cardinal, Common Moorhen, Common Yellowthroat, Double-Crested Cormorant, Eastern Phoebe, House Wren, Glossy Ibis, Gray Catbird, Great Blue Heron, Killdeer, Limpkin, Little Blue Heron, Mourning Dove, Osprey, Painted Bunting, Palm Warbler, Pied-Billed Grebe, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Red-Winged Blackbird, Roseate Spoonbill, Sand Hill Crane, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Turkey Vulture, White Ibis, Wood Stork,