Beyond the BackyardCircle B Bar Reserve

Photographers Flock Back to Circle B Bar Reserve

The temperatures were a bit cooler at the Circle B Bar Reserve this morning, and the photographers and the migrant birds alike have begun to return to the reserve.  Dyeyo and I hiked the Marsh Rabbit Run trail, Wading Bird Way trail, and Alligator Alley trail this morning in search of migrant warblers.  Unfortunately, the cloudy morning was not conducive to good birding or photography.  We did find a Prairie Warbler, a bunch of Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, and some Caspian Terns, who are year-round but always fun to see.  Altogether we had a nice walk and saw more species than I expected.

The water levels are up!  The above picture was taken with my iPhone after I said, “gee, I wish I’d brought my wide-angle lens.”  (The Beast stayed home today, and I travelled light with just my intermediate telephoto.)  Then I realized that I had a wide-angle lens in my pocket.  Gotta love my phone! :)

The water levels are high throughout the reserve.  Water is flowing through all the culverts on both Heron Hideout and Wading Bird Way.  It’s really good to see.  All this rain is giving us good results…maybe now we’ll have some water to offer the migrant ducks as they begin to arrive!

The sunrise was very pretty this morning, with gorgeous orange tones showing in my rearview mirror as I drove down I4 to CBBR.  I wish I’d been on Wading Bird Way to photograph it, but I hadn’t expected a good sunrise today with the cloudy forecast.  The pink tones lingered for several hours, giving me nice opportunities for HDR.

I enjoyed watching the water ripple as the breeze blew.  Then I zoomed in all the way and took some bracketed shots for HDR.  I wasn’t sure if I would like the result, but I do.  There’s something almost 3D about the HDR shot that wasn’t in the original exposure.

I ended up deleting all the pictures I took until mid-morning, when the light levels were a little higher.  We were excited to see a couple of Caspian Terns fishing off Wading Bird Way.  They are around CBBR all year long, but I don’t seem to see them very often.  Their bright orange beaks are cool.

Limpkins are of course everywhere at CBBR.  It’s not until you meet people from out of town when you realize that Limpkins are rather unusual outside our immediate area.  Their calls always amuse me – they are so loud and they sound so indignant at times!  Today one was preening, and the wing kept blowing his feathers out.

I noticed this one yellow flower blooming out off Wading Bird Way.  As I zoomed in, I realized there was an out-of-focus Great Egret right behind it.  There’s something cool about the juxtaposition of these two – it just fits the mood of the morning.

As we headed down Alligator Alley, we came across our customary late summer Green Herons.  As we watched, this guy reached out to grab a minnow or something.  Dyeyo and I were both excited to see that we caught the moment of the grab.

Now…maybe next weekend we can have a little sunshine?  But keep the temperatures decreasing!!

Bird Species (36 total): Anhinga, Bald Eagle, Barn Swallow, Belted Kingfisher (heard), Black Vulture, Black-Bellied Whistling Duck, Blue Jay (heard), Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher (FOS), Boat-tailed Grackle, Carolina Wren, Caspian Tern, Chimney Swift (heard), Common Moorhen, Double-Crested Cormorant, Downy Woodpecker (heard), Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Green Heron, Killdeer (heard), Laughing Gull, Limpkin, Little Blue Heron, Mottled Duck, Mourning Dove, Northern Cardinal, Osprey, Prairie Warbler, Purple Gallinule, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Red-winged Blackbird, Tricolored Heron, Turkey Vulture, White Ibis, White-Eyed Vireo, Wood Stork