Chasing Lifers

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Michael Libbe and I had two goals on our recent trip to the Circle B Bar Reserve: to photograph the yellow flowers at sunrise, and to go chasing lifers!  A group of Fulvous Whistling Ducks has started to hang out at Circle B, and while I’ve caught a few quick glimpses of them, they would have been a lifer for Michael.  Cole also found a Grasshopper Sparrow not too long ago, so we were determined to relocate it.  But as often happens with nature photography, when you go chasing one lifer, you might just stumble upon another…

American Bittern
American Bittern

This is the American Bittern who distracted us from our quest for the Grasshopper Sparrow.  Why walk halfway across the preserve to chase a tiny bird when a cooperative bird is posing right in front of the yellow flowers?  Except as soon as we started photographing him, he disappeared into the bushes!  Silly bird.  Michael suggested that he fly over the yellow flowers, and even detailed a photogenic trajectory, but apparently this bird doesn’t take direction from photographers. :)

Green Heron Stalking a Dragonfly
Green Heron Stalking a Dragonfly

As we headed up the Heron Hideout trail, we found this Green Heron stalking dragonflies on the alligator flag plants.  He walked right out into the open for us!  I love how I caught his big foot and long toes in this shot.

We checked each group of whistlers that we found along the Marsh Rabbit Run trail, but we didn’t spot a single Fulvous.  Just another reason to head back over Thanksgiving break!

Broad-winged Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk

We carted our big lenses for miles all over the reserve.  After all, I had to make sure Michael got his exercise!  Ironically, our best bird was within 100 feet of our cars back at the parking lot.  We were making our way up the entry road when we noticed a small hawk in a treetop.  His blue eye made me realize he was a juvenile.  He looked like a Red-shouldered Hawk, only a little smaller.  We took a few pictures, which we later identified as a Broad-winged Hawk, a lifer for both of us!  Nature saved us the best for last…

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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4 thoughts on “Chasing Lifers

  1. Nice images Jess! Love the green heron and the bittern. For several years I have been trying to get to a bittern but they are so skittish in these parts! Beautiful.

    1. They’re pretty skittish down here in FL, too, Chris! But during the wintertime there are a few ridiculously tame ones at Circle B. Let me know if you’re ever in the area!

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