Singing in the Rain!

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Circle B Bar Reserve

When I wrote about my early June visit to the Circle B Bar Reserve, I left out the best part. Spoonies!!! A flock of Roseate Spoonbills was hanging out on Wading Bird Way, foraging in the shallow waters along the edge of the trail. A gentle sprinkle fell as we watched them pulling fish out of the water.

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

It was a very gray, cloudy day, not ideal for flight shots, but the spoonies didn’t know that. They flew in and out like crazy. I really liked this shot below, with the spoonies staring straight at the camera as he flew in.

Roseate Spoonbill in Flight
Roseate Spoonbill in Flight

I loved the still waters and how they created beautiful reflections of the pretty birds. This bird was close to the trees, and he gave a little splash as he searched for his breakfast.

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

This Spoonie gave an even bigger splash and a great wing-flap. I wished I had zoomed out a little first!

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

You really appreciate the bird’s bill in this next shot. The Roseate Spoonbill is the only spoonbill in the Americas. it’s the perfect shape to help the bird pull fish from the water.

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

The spoonies weren’t the only ones enjoying the wading pool. This Great Blue Heron suddenly pulled a giant fish from the water. He stood with it for a few seconds while the cameras clicked and everybody asked, “How’s he going to eat that?” Well, he wasn’t dumb. A few minutes later, he carefully slid the fish back into the water.

Fish Story - Great Blue Heron Grabs Giant FIsh
Fish Story – Great Blue Heron Grabs Giant FIsh

Remember the cute little Sandhill Crane colts I used to photograph at Circle B? We came across this year’s family of cranes as we left Wading Bird Way. The baby was already almost as tall as his parents. They walked down the trail together, quite undisturbed by the people around them.

Sandhill Crane Family
Sandhill Crane Family

A few seconds later, the whole family was dancing. The juvenile’s wing-flap lasted a little longer as he stretched his wings and seemed to think about trying to fly. When I looked at the image on my computer, he seemed to be happily singing in the rain. It wasn’t actually raining very hard, but I added a rain texture to complete the effect!

Singin' in the Rain!
Singin’ in the Rain!

Early June Visit to Circle B Bar Reserve

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Circle B Bar Reserve

It’s been ages since my dad and I did a photography morning at the Circle B Bar Reserve. So in early June, we met at sunrise to walk the trails and re-visit our old favorite spots. We ended up walking almost the whole reserve – Heron Hideout, Marsh Rabbit Run, Wading Bird Way, Eagle Roost, and the open portion of Alligator Alley. It was cloudy and gray but we saw lots of good birds!

Our first bird was a Northern Parula who sang to us from a treetop. Eventually he hopped down to eye level, but he didn’t quite come out in the open…

Northern Parula
Northern Parula

As we headed down Marsh Rabbit Run we spotted a crow flying by. It had a small egg its mouth.

Crow with Egg
Crow with Egg

Purple Gallinules were everywhere that morning. We spotted a trio of small black babies being fed near the bird blind, then we spotted juveniles a little farther down the trail. As we hit Wading Bird Way, we found a clump of Alligator Flags with a Purple Gallinule gymnast. I love watching these pretty birds climb on the reeds.

Purple Gallinule on Alligator Flag
Purple Gallinule on Alligator Flag

A few minutes later, I spotted a Purple Gallinule pair standing very close. I recognized the signs of courtship and focused quickly. I think it’s safe to say that there will be more Purple Gallinules at Circle B this summer!

Purple Gallinules Mating
Purple Gallinules Mating

I looked down and spotted a small turtle in the trail. Of course I had to get a photo for Rich!

Turtle
Turtle

Tons of wading birds like the Limpkin below were hanging out in the shallow waters along Wading Bird Way. There were more birds, too – some very pretty birds who entertained my camera for a good while. But you’ll have to wait to my next post to find out who they were!

Limpkin
Limpkin

Back by the Nature Center, we found a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk in the treetops. He was munching on his breakfast. He made a very pretty picture nestled in the ferns and mosses.

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk
Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk

On our way down to Lake Hancock, we found a Pileated Woodpecker hanging out in the oak trees. It’s been a while since I’ve photographed a pileated. Look at that giant red crest!

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

As we left, we waved goodbye to the wild hogs that were feeding along the side of the trail. It wouldn’t be a visit to Circle B without the hogs!

Wild Hog
Wild Hog

Another Early June Bike Ride at Lake Apopka

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Lake Apopka

I really enjoyed my photography on the week that Rich and I took off after Memorial Day. I went out every single day! On this particular morning, I stuck the bike in my car and headed up to Lake Apopka. I enjoyed the wide-open roads and absence of cars along with the birdlife that also seemed to enjoy the peace and quiet.

My first bird of the morning was a hungry Great Blue Heron. He had just caught a cat fish on the edge of the canal. Apparently his mother didn’t teach him to chew with his mouth closed!

Great Blue Heron with Fish
Great Blue Heron with Fish

Next a Black-necked Stilt flew overhead. I quickly stopped, focused, and got a full-frame image. I love bike birding!

Black-necked Stilt
Black-necked Stilt

From the top of a telephone pole, an Osprey called good morning. He also told me that the was busy eating his breakfast and that I shouldn’t expect him to fly any time soon.

Osprey eating Breakfast
Osprey eating Breakfast

They had just mowed the grass along the sides of the roads. Purple Gallinules were everywhere. Shorter grass makes it easier to see their big feet as they hunt for bugs.

Purple Gallinule
Purple Gallinule

I spotted a Green Heron perched on a snag in the marsh. You can see from his coloring how well he blends in. Just an extension of the tree branch, right? Look at all the dragonflies on the nearby branches!

Green Heron
Green Heron

I headed down to the lake shore, where I found a Red-winged Blackbird nest. I think it was empty though. Nearby a family of Red-winged Blackbirds kept very busy in the deep shadows of a large tree.

Then I looked up as an Osprey flew by. He was carrying a fish straight into the sun…so I got the shot, then tried to play with the contrast in post-processing.

Osprey with Fish
Osprey with Fish

It really was a pretty morning. I wished I’d gotten down to the pump house when the light was still soft. You can see how the bike trail hugs the lake shore.

Pump House
Pump House

A Great Egret flew over the lake. He’s lost the green lores of his breeding colors. Look at the beautiful detail in those long white feathers!

Great Egret
Great Egret

I headed back to my car, enjoying the exercise as I said goodbye to my birds. My last bird of the morning was this Blue Grosbeak, who perched high the trees near the entrance. He sang me a goodbye and made me promise to return soon!

Blue Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak