Beyond the BackyardOther Places

A Walk Around the Marshall Hampton Reserve

My dad felt like stretching his legs a few weekends ago.  We were in the vicinity of the Marshall Hampton Reserve, near the Circle B Bar Reserve.  It’s a spot that we’ve never really taken the time to explore.  It’s a nice place for hiking, although it doesn’t offer the same variety of wildlife as Circle B.  Come join us for a walk around the lake…

Marshall Hampton Reserve Lake
Marshall Hampton Reserve Lake

You walk through a small woods to go from the parking lot to this lake.  From there there are several hiking trails.  We took the one around the lake.  Polk County recently opened the first part of the Panther Point trail, which goes down the east side of Lake Hancock.  It’s a 10 mile trail (one way!) and my dad and I weren’t up for that particular challenge.  So we continued around the lake.

This Anhinga wasn’t too sure about us.  He thought we were trying to bother him.  I was just trying to take his picture. Silly bird.

Anhinga
Anhinga

Out in the middle of the lake were several big rafts of coots, and a group of at least 20 or 30 Pied-billed Grebes all diving together.  I’ve never seen that many grebes together.  We used to see rafts of coots like this at Circle B.

A Raft of Coots!
A Raft of Coots!

We arrived around 10:30 am, so it was definitely past the best birding hour.  We found our best bird on the way out.  Just as we turned off the lake trail to walk back through the woods to the parking lot, I heard a singing White-eyed Vireo.  He didn’t mind when I snapped his picture.  Never mind the harsh noon light! :-)

White-eyed Vireo at Marshall Hampton Reserve
White-eyed Vireo at Marshall Hampton Reserve

Herman was right when he told me that Marshall Hampton wasn’t as birdy as Circle B.  But it has potential and might be worth a return visit earlier in the morning.  Just be ready to hike!