Beyond the BackyardCircle B Bar Reserve

Sunrise Wings at Circle B Bar Reserve

It’s been ages since I’ve been to Circle B.  It’s sad…I used to go there every weekend, at least!  So it felt great to spend the morning on Wading Bird Way.  The water levels are really really low.  Half of the “lake” is now a mud flat.  But the good thing is that the low water levels attract hundreds of wading birds.  A sea of white wings greeted me.  Birds were flying every which way as they searched for their breakfasts.  It was incredible.  None of my wide-angle shots did justice to the sight.

I got out there about 20 minutes before sunrise, to enjoy the pre-dawn light.  There wasn’t much wind, so I could get nice reflections of the birds in the water.  Quite a few Wood Storks and Great Blue Herons were close to shore.  I love the light purpley color the water in the early dawn.  I had to use fill flash to help illuminate the bird.

The sunrises over the marsh are not particularly photogenic at this time of year.  I like it better when the sun comes up behind the trees in the middle of the marsh, which are usually covered in birds.  They add an interesting feature to the sunrise.  At this time of year, though, the sun just peeks out over the oak trees.  It’s a little boring.  So I tried to find something interesting to do with the light.  This clump of marsh grasses was isolated in the water, and the light of the sun made the water behind it glow orange.  I thought it was pretty.

The rookery must have had a bumper crop of spoonies this year! I estimate that at least 30-50 Roseate Spoonbills were active this morning. They were mixed in with the herons and egrets, feeding.  They are a little more skittish than the white birds, and when I approached, the ones that were close to the trail flushed.  But then they got used to the crazy lady with the big lens, and they gradually came close again.  There were so many pink wings in the air between sunrise and about 8:00!  After that, I guess they had their share of breakfast and they went off to enjoy their birdie days.

Wood Storks, too, were abundant this morning.  I saw lots of adults and lots of juveniles, probably recently fledged.  I used to think their faces were so ugly, but now I enjoy all the detail in those crinkles and wrinkles.

The best surprise of the morning were the four American White Pelicans that were fishing in the water off the Wading Bird Way trail.  For the past few years, this area has hosted a large flock of birds during the winter.  It was a little disappointing this year when they did not return.  I guess these four decided that it was a good place, after all.  They came really close to the trail and I got full-frame shots of them.  How cool!

I will post more pictures tomorrow…

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