Beyond the BackyardCircle B Bar Reserve

Where are all the birds at the Circle B Bar Reserve?

Relatively speaking, there were very few birds at the Circle B Bar Reserve this morning. Usually we are greeted by flocks of White Ibis and Wood Storks flying over Heron Hideout. We see Osprey and various wading birds flying overhead. Lately a bunch of Roseate Spoonbills have been filling the marshes with pink. Today there were very few birds in the skies. A couple of the regulars were there — like the Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks — but not nearly as many as usual. All the birdwatchers were asking each other, “Where is everybody?” I’m not sure if the birds are leaving the marsh because it is so dry, or if there is another explanation for their absence…

This morning we hiked Heron Hideout, Marsh Rabbit Run, and Wading Bird Way.

As we walked out into the marsh at sunrise, we were amazed by the numbers of Red-Winged Blackbirds that were congregating in the trees. There must have been hundreds, maybe even thousands, all squawking their heads off.

The first “big bird” to greet us was this Great Blue Heron, perched uncharacteristically in the top of a twiggy tree. Usually they perch lower in the branches and blend in well. This guy stuck out big time.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

The Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks whistled a sweet hello as we passed their new hangout midway up the Marsh Rabbit Run trail. They used to hang out more at the Wading Bird Way / Marsh Rabbit Run intersection, until their pond dried up. The juveniles are starting to molt into their adult plumage.

Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks

Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks

Our “warbler tree” (an old oak that’s probably 2/3 of the way down Marsh Rabbit Run) was full of Palm Warblers and Yellow-Rumped Warblers. I saw a single Yellow-Throated Warbler, too.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

We reached Wading Bird Way and saw the usual crowds of American Coots. They are so funny to watch as they feed. One bird on the edge of a group will decide to take off at a run across the water, and the rest of them follow in turn. Today a bunch of Pied-Billed Grebes mixed in with the coots. I guess there is safely in numbers!

Leader of the Pack!

Leader of the Pack!

A Limpkin posed on one of the buoys. He was unusually tolerant of my camera clicks and tripod maneuvers as I lowered the camera to birds-eye level. As I watched, he stood on one foot, and stuck his other one in the air — did he think it made a good pose?

Limpkin

Limpkin

Another Pied-Billed Grebe, this one not surrounded by coots, posed as the water rippled around him:

Pied-Billed Grebe

Pied-Billed Grebe

Back on Marsh Rabbit Run, a dead tree by the Black-Bellied Whistling Duck hangout was covered in whistlers. They all threw back their heads and whistled together. I thought it was a fun shot.

Black-Bellied Whistling Duck

Black-Bellied Whistling Duck

We were seeing so few birds, compared to what we usually see. I guess the species list at the bottom of the post still looks pretty good, but the birds were not there in the usual numbers. So when this other “bird” flew over, I took its picture…then laughed at the pilots’ faces, as they were probably wondering why in the world I was aiming the camera at them!

Plane

Plane

Species list: Anhinga, American Coot, Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher, Black-Bellied Whistling Duck, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Blue-Winged Teal, Common Moorhen, Double-Crested Cormorant, Eastern Phoebe, Glossy Ibis, Gray Catbird, Great Blue Heron, House Wren, Laughing Gull, Limpkin, Little Blue Heron, Mourning Dove, Osprey, Palm Warbler, Pied-Billed Grebe, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-Winged Blackbird, Sandhill Crane, Savannah Sparrow, Snowy Egret, Tree Swallow, Tricolored Heron, Turkey Vulture, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Yellow-Throated Warbler

Limpkin

Limpkin