Beyond the BackyardCircle B Bar Reserve

Sunset Bobcat at the Circle B Bar Reserve

I went over to the Circle B Bar Reserve after work today to catch the sunset.  The good news?  I saw the bobcat for the first time ever!!  The bad news?  The Marsh Rabbit Run trail is now closed because the alligators are very active.  There’s a freaky sequence of pictures on the Circle B Flickr site showing a heron stealing a baby alligator and the mother gator following the heron up onto the trail.  While the trail closing is the safe thing to do, it’s disappointing for those of us who have come to love the preserve.  It’s probable that the Alligator Alley trail will close as well.  :(

Bobcat

Bobcat

I arrived at the reserve around 4:30, heading up Heron Hideout with hopes of photographing the Sandhill Crane nest.  (Hopefully the cranes will bring the babies away from the closed trails.)   I ran into a small group of people that appeared to be staring out into an empty marsh.  Then they showed me the bobcat lurking fairly close to the trail!

Bobcat – Peek a boo!

Bobcat – Peek a boo!

Not unlike our contrary housecats, this guy didn’t want to be photographed.  He stayed behind the bushes, poking his head up only occasionally.  I did get some good butt shots.  One of these days I should do a “butt shot” post.  I’ve got a lot of them! :-p

The pool on the east southern portion of Heron Hideout is nicely illuminated by the setting sun.  I spent a good hour photographing the birds that are usually backlit by the sunrise when I am there in the morning.

This Snowy Egret’s breeding plumes were tossed around in the wind quite a bit, making him look like he was having a very bad hair day.  I liked how the white feathers contrasted with the dark blue of the water.  I had to apply some exposure compensation to keep the white feathers from becoming overexposed.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

This Anhinga posed on a post with the sun hitting his feathers…

Anhinga

Anhinga

A Great Blue Heron flew in, circling around a couple of times and giving me a chance to get focused on him.  How nice of him!

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

As I admired the setting sun, a juvenile Black-Crowned Night Heron flew in and posed on a post for me.  He then hopped down to the culvert and stayed there for at least fifteen minutes, fishing in the flowing water.

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Black-Crowned Night Heron

As the sun went down, I took several panorama shots of the marsh, bracketing each exposure +/-2EV stops to allow for HDR.  The result has an annoying distracting halo in the sky, but I still like it:

Sunset over the Marsh

Sunset over the Marsh

If you look just to the right of the setting sun, you can see the pine tree with the eagle nest.  If you want to see what The Beast does for me, compare that picture to the following video, taken from the same vantage point with The Beast and the 1.4x teleconverter.  The adult was feeding the baby eagle, backlit by the setting sun.  It was gorgeous.