Beyond the BackyardCircle B Bar Reserve

The Eagle has Landed at CBBR

The Bald Eagle has returned to his nest on the sandhill at the Circle B Bar Reserve!  I was very happy to hear him and then confirm that he was sitting just above the nest.

It’s been almost a month since Dyeyo and I went to Circle B, so we were both excited to get back there today.  We arrived at 6:30 and headed to the Wading Bird Way trail in search of Black-Bellied Whistling Duck babies.  It was a very cloudy morning, though.  There wasn’t enough light to photograph the birds well, so I concentrated on sunrise panoramas instead.

A small group of otters surprised us as we reached the southern end of Wading Bird Way.  Neither of us had seen the otters up on this part of the trail before.  One otter was smaller than the others, making me wonder if it was younger.  They stood on the trail for a few seconds before diving down into the grasses.

Given the heat and the minimal bird activity at Circle B at this time of the year, I left the Beast at home and traveled light, with just my intermediate zoom lens and a bottle of water.  The clouds kept the early dawn hours fairly cool, so when Dyeyo suggested that we hike the Eagle Roost loop, I didn’t object.

I love how the light illuminates the soft grasses back on the Eagle Roost trail.  We saw very few signs of life back there.  A Northern Bobwhite and an Eastern Meadowlark called to us, but they did not show themselves.

A Red-Shouldered Hawk stood high in a treetop as we started down the Heron Hideout trail.  He acted as if he hadn’t seen people in a long time!  I was lucky enough to be focused on him when he flew…

At the ponds off Heron Hideout, a few Common Moorhen families were swimming fairly close to the trail.  There weren’t any tiny babies – just juveniles.  One of the adults was the most amusing, as she stood up and revealed her tummy covered in algae.

We continued down the Alligator Alley trail, with mild hopes of finding a passing migrant warbler.  We didn’t have such luck.  We saw a few Ospreys and Great Blue Herons.  It was very quiet.  The highlight of that trail was the raccoon that was walking along the path towards us.  I got low, then we both stood still.  The raccoon wasn’t too sure about us, but he did continue to walk towards us for quite a way before turning and heading up a tree.

We took the Lost Bridge Trail back to the cars.  We never see much on that trail, but it’s better than walking along the road.  At the beginning of the trail, this butterfly fluttered by and posed on a blade of grass.  I wished I’d brought an extension tube!

It felt good to get back out at Circle B, even if we didn’t see much.  Tomorrow is the first of August, so by the end of the month, we should be seeing Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers and some migrating warblers.  They will also be re-opening the Marsh Rabbit Run trail soon.  It was mowed today and looked ready to hike.  I’m ready!

Bird Species List (21 total): Anhinga, Bald Eagle, Black-Bellied Whistling Duck, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Boat-tailed Grackle, Carolina Wren, Common Moorhen, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Green Heron, Limpkin, Little Blue Heron, Mourning Dove, Northern Bobwhite (heard), Northern Cardinal, Osprey, Pileated Woodpecker, Purple Gallinule, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Sandhill Crane (heard), Wood Stork