Beyond the Backyard

I Love This Time of Year at Circle B!

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I spent Sunday morning with The Beast at the Circle B Bar Reserve. It was hard to decide whether to head out to the marsh to catch the Bald Eagles flying with nesting material, or head to the lake to see the bobcat. The cloudless skies and great morning light made me decide on the marsh. I didn’t get many views of the eagles, but I did enjoy the time with the little birds. A lot of people are surprised when they see how high the vegetation is on the sides of the Heron Hideout trail. We need a good frost! There is one leafy green plant in the marsh right now that has put up all sorts of green reeds, and on the tips of the reeds are purple flowers. Those must be full of seeds, because all the birds are going nuts over them. I saw no less than TEN Purple Gallinules climbing the reeds and eating the seeds. (Most people are excited to see one!) Most of the Purple Gallinules were adults, but a few juveniles were showing off their pale colors. I laughed as the birds hopped around on the reeds, hanging on with those big […]

Beyond the Backyard

Redstarts and Warblers and Buntings, Oh My!

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The cold front moved through and brought not only cooler temperatures, but lots of migrant birds!  I spent a very nice morning at the Circle B Bar Reserve with Dyeyo.  We chased lots of little birds and ended up with a pretty good migrant count, including an Indigo Bunting!! :) We hiked the Heron Hideout trail, Marsh Rabbit Run trail, and Wading Bird Way trail this morning.  We hadn’t been on Marsh Rabbit Run for more than two minutes before we spotted a male American Redstart.  I’ve only seen females before, so I was pretty excited.  We chased that little bird in and out of the oak treetops for over an hour!  Photographing him was quite challenging, for many reasons:  the light was uneven, the bird kept hiding, autofocus kept triggering on the leaves instead of the birds, etc.  So I was happy to get a few shots with the bird in focus, kinda-sorta looking at the camera. :) We heard Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers all over the place.  They are so cute!  I’m glad that they are back.  For the most part they are staying high in the trees now.  In a few weeks, they will start to come lower into […]

Backyard photography

Guess Who I Heard This Morning?

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I was out on the porch with the cats when we heard the unmistakable sound of a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher. These tiny birds are technically year-round residents of Central Florida, but in the summertime, they tend to be scarce. I’ve been told that they go to the very tops of pine trees to make their nests and raise their young. It’s usually around the end of August before I start hearing them again. Although they are common, Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers are some of my favorite birds to photograph. They are difficult because they move so quickly, but they are so cute! I didn’t get a picture this morning, so here’s a shot of a gnatcatcher from Circle B last year.