Beyond the BackyardCircle B Bar Reserve

Seeing is Believing: There Really are Otters at the Circle B Bar Reserve!

I’ve been going to the Circle B Bar Reserve at least once a week since June, and plenty of times before that, and I’ve never seen a River Otter. Dyeyo’s seen them plenty of times. Well, I finally got to see one today! There were otters running up and down Marsh Rabbit Run all morning. The best photo ops were when they surfaced with fish. Then we heard lots of crunching!

River Otter with Breakfast

River Otter with Breakfast

We got to Circle B at 6:30 in hopes of a bright sunrise with some nice clouds. But it was really foggy instead.

Foggy Sunrise

Foggy Sunrise

The normal birds were flying overhead as they left the marsh to seek their breakfast: Wood Storks, White Ibises, and the first Brown Pelicans of the season!

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Then the first rays of sun came through and illuminated the birds roosting in the marsh, making a beautiful contrast to the foggy background.

First Rays of Light

First Rays of Light

At the intersection between Heron Hideout and Marsh Rabbit Run, an Eastern Phoebe posed high in a tree. All of a sudden, he darted out, grabbed a dragonfly, then returned to his perch to eat it.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

On a neighboring tree, a Red-Bellied Woodpecker was digging into a small hole. After a minute or so, he pulled out this spider, then proceeded to devour it.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

There’s a dead tree partway down Marsh Rabbit Run that the Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks like to sit in. Today we started out with just one bird, then three, then a group flew in. I’ll admit to a tiny bit of Photoshopping here to merge the best poses for each bird. The sun angle was hard and the silly birds seemed more concerned with whistling to each other than in positioning their faces towards the sun for optimum photography! :)

Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks

Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks

A pair of Pileated Woodpeckers landed near us, then hopped from tree to tree, preceding us down the Marsh Rabbit Run trail. One did a nice pose in the sunrise light for about a split second!

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

The woodpecker was chattering to himself quite a bit. As I waited for him to move into the light for the shot above, I took a short movie to capture the sounds for Mum-mum:

The oak trees about halfway down Marsh Rabbit Run tend to be good places to see warblers. Today there were dozens of little birds hopping around in the canopy, including the first Yellow-Rumped Warbler I’ve seen at Circle B this fall:

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

A small group of Blue-Winged Teals greeted us as we reached Wading Bird Way.

Blue-Winged Teals

Blue-Winged Teals

But the bird most visible on Wading Bird Way was by far the American Coot. Small groups of them gathered all over the pond. I got another fun “in the middle of a run across the water” shot:

American Coot

American Coot

We headed back on Marsh Rabbit Run, walking almost all the way back to Heron Hideout when we saw another river otter. It was actually a group of three, and their fishing expedition led us to follow them almost back to Wading Bird Way! The sun was pretty high and the lighting harsh, but here’s an otter eating his fish:

River Otter

River Otter

The yellow flowers that cover the marsh are so pretty. I took a meter reading off the sky, then took a series of pictures to stitch together into a panorama.

Yellow Flower Marsh Panorama

Yellow Flower Marsh Panorama

Species list: Anhinga, American Coot, Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher, Black-Bellied Whistling Duck, Black Skimmer (FOS), Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Blue-Winged Teal, Brown Pelican (FOS), Chipping Sparrow (FOS), Common Moorhen, Common Yellowthroat, Double-Crested Cormorant, Eastern Phoebe, Glossy Ibis, Gray Catbird, Great Blue Heron, Greater Yellowlegs, Green Heron, House Wren, Laughing Gull, Limpkin, Little Blue Heron, Mottled Duck, Mourning Dove, Osprey, Palm Warbler, Pied-Billed Grebe, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Red-Winged Blackbird, Roseate Spoonbill, Sandhill Crane, Savannah Sparrow, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Turkey Vulture, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Yellow-Rumped Warbler (FOS)

See you next week!

See you next week!