Last Saturday morning I visited the Circle B Bar Reserve with the hope of seeing my first Bobolink. Bobolinks are migratory birds that pass through Circle B during early May. My dad has seen them several times, but I never have – I’ve missed them every year! I knew Saturday morning would be cloudy, but when I arrived out on the Wading Bird Trail, “cloudy” was an understatement. The air was thick with humidity and there was a slight drizzle. But I found my Bobolinks! There was a flock of about 100 of them across the water, north of the Marsh Rabbit Run intersection. They weren’t close enough to photograph well, so I took a video instead. Turn up the volume so that you can hear their song, which reminds me a lot of the Red-Winged Blackbirds.
I headed farther up the Wading Bird Way trail, hoping that I might run into more Bobolinks, closer to the trail. When I saw the lone whistling duck fly over the trail, I almost didn’t photograph him, because Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks are so common at the Circle B Bar Reserve, and lighting conditions were far from ideal. But there have been multiple reports of Fulvous Whistling Ducks recently, and something told me that I might be seeing one of them. I couldn’t confirm the ID until I saw it on my computer – lifer #2 for the gray drizzly morning! Not bad!
Another bird who was very friendly that morning was the Eastern Towhee. You can always hear them along the Windmill Whisper side of the trail, and there’s a tree along the start of the Eagle Roost trail where I can fairly predictively find Eastern Towhees. But they don’t usually hop out right in front of me! I guess in the low light they didn’t expect me to be standing there.
I headed next to the Alligator Alley trail, where a Red-Shouldered Hawk nest has been charming visitors for the past several weeks. I’ve photographed that nest in previous years, and it’s such fun to watch as the adult brings in lizards and snakes for the little ones to devour. The baby hawks sit in their nests calling, sounding just like adult hawks.
The nest is high in a tree across the canal from the trail. Most people walk right by it unless they notice the gaggle of photographers underneath. On this particular morning, it was fun to run into several kids who had seen the pictures on Facebook and were determined to find the babies. This was my favorite still shot from the morning. I stacked both my teleconverters onto the Beast in order to get a full-frame image of the baby standing in the front of the nest.
As I left I checked on my Red-Bellied Woodpeckers. They’ve been working on a cavity for at least two months now. I think they are finally finished digging and onto the next part of the nesting process – Mom seems to be sitting on eggs! I didn’t hear the calls of little ones from within the cavity. I love springtime at the Circle B Bar Reserve!!