The Fellowship of the Nest


As promised, here are more pictures from my morning at Circle B yesterday.  Although I failed to find the Great Horned Owlettes, I did find several other nests.  I love springtime at Circle B!

The light was horrible (or rather, non-existent!) when I first arrived.  I noticed the Osprey on Heron Hideout gathering nesting material.  Last year he nested in the top of a dead palm tree, but I noticed that tree has been reduced to just a dead stump.  So the Osprey was gathering his material in a nearby oak tree.  He had to circle around twice with this load before he gave himself clearance for landing!

The most talked-about nest at Circle B right now is probably the Sandhill Crane nets, located not too far from the Marsh Rabbit Run trail.  The cranes nest near water, counting on the water to protect them from predators.  I got to watch the “changing of the guard” as Mom stood up, stretched, and let Dad take over the nest-sitting for a while.  Cranes are interesting in that both adults share incubation responsibilities, except at night, when it’s Mom’s job.  No wonder she’s ready for a nice stretch in the morning!!

I didn’t hike all the way up Marsh Rabbit Run after spending some time watching the cranes.  Instead I doubled back and hiked the Alligator Alley trail.  There’s a spot along that trail where the trail bends away from the marsh towards the lake.  That little corner is what I think of as “nesting central.”  It’s already in full swing this spring.  Both the Great Blue Herons and Barred Owls are nesting high in the treetops, on opposite sides of the trail.

The Barred Owl was on her nest in the top of a dead tree (the same tree as last year).  I could barely make out her beak sticking out.  Watching that nest is a challenge, as you have to be patient and wait for action, and hours pass in between fly-ins.  It’ll be more interesting when there are chicks in there, and the parents begin to bring in food.  For now, she should enjoy the peace and relaxation before her pushy owlettes are born…

The Great Blue Herons started to nest in this tree last year, but it failed.  I was excited to see them try again this year.  They are not on eggs yet – they spent the morning moving sticks around, but didn’t sit down much.  They’d better get their act together…some Great Blue Heron nests around here have already hatched!

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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