Beyond the BackyardCircle B Bar Reserve

Annual Search for My Pole-Vaulters

I haven’t been to the Circle B Bar Reserve in ages.  I used to go so often, but it’s very different these days.  Lots of people, not as many birds.  I can’t wait for my upcoming visit to the Lake Hancock Outfall Wetlands, where I participated in a Christmas Bird Count last year.  I’m hoping to see lots more birds there!  But one thing that Circle B is really good for at this time of year is Purple Gallinules.  I call them my “pole-vaulters.”  You see, the alligator flag plants grow tall, and all the adult and juvie gallinules climb the reeds to eat the flower seeds.  They inch out farther and farther, with those big long toes wrapped around the reed, until snap!  The reed gives out under their weight and the “pole-vaulter” takes a ride to the ground.  This process repeats itself quite often and is very entertaining.  As a photographic bonus, the early morning light is perfect on these guys!

Purple Gallinule
Purple Gallinule

So it was with great anticipation that I returned to Circle B in search of my pole vaulters.  I did see a few, but not nearly as many as in years past.  They also stayed out in the plant clumps that were pretty far away.   None ventured out for nice isolation shots.

Green Heron
Green Heron

It was a pretty quiet morning.  A few Green Herons ventured out to say hello.  The one above would have been perfect if I could have shifted a little to the left to avoid the reeds in front of him.  He didn’t pose for long, as another Green Heron flew in and he had to defend his territory.  I guess there weren’t enough reeds to go around!

Common Gallinule
Common Gallinule

This Common Gallinule was jealous of all the attention that the Purple Gallinules were getting.  She started fussing, very loudly, and so I had to stop and take her picture too.

Yellow Flower
Yellow Flower

You know it’s a quiet morning when you start using your long lens to photograph flowers.  The yellow flowers are starting to pop up all over Circle B.  It won’t be long before the marshes are covered in burr marigolds.  I can’t wait!