Even an Icky Day is Good at Circle B Bar Reserve


I almost decided not to go to the Circle B Bar Reserve this morning. The forecast predicted a mostly cloudy morning, and the cloud cover over our house at 6am was thick. But I didn’t want to miss my last vacation opportunity to go to Circle B, so I went anyway. My dad likes to say that Circle B never disappoints, and today was no exception. I heard my first American Goldfinches of the season, and got a Redhead flight shot!

This morning started out gray and the sun was behind the clouds, so I parked at the Nature Center and walked over to the new eagle’s nest. I was curious how well I’d see it with The Beast. With The Beast and the 1.4x teleconverter, I got the shot below. When I added the 2x teleconverter as well, I was full-frame on the nest. Hopefully the nest will be productive this year! The eagles were both at the nest for a little while, arranging branches down in the middle. Then one flew away while the other sat up on the branches over the nest. So they are not on eggs yet.

Lately I’ve been enjoying flight shots on the Wading Bird Way trail, but since the sky was so cloudy, I opted to hike up the Heron Hideout trail and the Marsh Rabbit Run trail to pay attention to small birds. I had Palm Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, and Swamp Sparrows along the path. Then I heard these Purple Gallinules behind me, and turning around, I followed the motion in the vegetation until they made their appearances. There were at least five total, four juveniles and an adult. The juveniles are interesting looking right now, with their almost-adult beak but still-kinda-juvenile feather colors. They love to climb in the Alligator Flag plants. You wouldn’t think that those stalks would support the weight of the birds, but they do. I guess the seeds are pretty tasty, as I’ve seen warblers and sparrows and gallinules eating them.

As I made my way down Marsh Rabbit Run, there wasn’t a whole lot to see. Little Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers and Palm Warblers hopped around, but they stayed pretty deep in the trees this morning. The best poser was this White Ibis.

When I got to Wading Bird Way, there was a decent little crowd duck-watching. Cole spotted two Northern Pintails that I would have loved to photograph. Two Redhead ducks were mixed in with coots, very far out. American Wigeons and Gadwalls were mixed in as well, although in fewer numbers than a few days ago. A pair of Ring-Necked Duck females was fairly close to the trail.

I was walking away when the Redheads decided to fly in closer. There were two, a juvenile male and a female. They landed in a group of coots (where else?), posed for a few minutes, then proceeded to take naps. I was grateful when a pack of coots decided to do their “run-across-the-water” routine and startled the Redheads. They dove a few times, then flew farther away. I didn’t think I’d gotten sharp flight shots, so I was pleasantly surprised when I got home and saw that a few were pretty sharp. So the undersides of a Redhead’s wings are white, I didn’t know that…

The marsh continues to be covered in yellow flowers (Burr Marigolds). There are almost as many flowers as there are coots! And boy do those coots like to whine! I thought this one was picturesque against the marigolds.

So it was a good morning after all, despite the lack of light. I finally got to meet Flickr friends Wendy and Lynn. I didn’t see the Bufflehead again. Maybe next time I’ll see a Pintail! :)

Bird Species List (46 total): American Coot, American Goldfinch (FOS) (heard), American Robin, American Wigeon, Anhinga, Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher, Black-Bellied Whistling Duck, Blue Jay, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Blue-Winged Teal, Boat-tailed Grackle, Common Gallinule, Common Yellowthroat, Double-Crested Cormorant, Eastern Phoebe, Gadwall, Glossy Ibis, Gray Catbird (heard), Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, House Wren (heard), Limpkin, Little Blue Heron, Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, Osprey, Palm Warbler, Pied-Billed Grebe, Pileated Woodpecker, Purple Gallinule, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Red-winged Blackbird, Redhead, Ring-Necked Duck, Sandhill Crane, Sedge Wren, Swamp Sparrow, Tern sp, Tree Swallow, Tricolored Heron, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Yellow-throated Warbler, Yellowlegs sp

Want to learn more about nature photography at Circle B Bar Reserve?

Check out my Circle B Bar Reserve page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!

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