Beyond the Backyard

A Quick Stop at Joe Overstreet

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Last Saturday on the way back from Blue Cypress Lake, we stopped at Joe Overstreet Road on the way back to Orlando.  It was mid-day, so I wasn’t sure there would be much bird activity, and the light wasn’t great.  But Joe Overstreet can be a good place to see Crested Caracara, Bald Eagles, and occasionally Whooping Cranes, so I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. We found a flock of Tree Swallows lined up on a telephone wire.  Occasionally they would all take off, fly around, and then eventually reconvene on the wire.  It can be pretty hard to photograph these tiny, fast birds.  I love to try, though.  Their bright blue iridescent feathers make for wonderful images.  This flock was a little too high, so I mostly got shots of birdie undersides.  The picture below is of a juvenile bird who has not yet gotten his bright blue feathers. The road is lined on both sides with fences, and birds often pose out on the fenceposts.  We didn’t see any many birds out this time, though.  There were just a few Eastern Meadowlarks, a few Loggerhead Shrikes, and a small flock of Savannah Sparrows.  We reached the lake […]

Beyond the Backyard

Activity Starting to Pick up at the Circle B Bar Reserve

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I keep running into photographers at the Circle B Bar Reserve who complain that nothing is happening. They remember the thousands of pelicans and myriad of other species seen last November through April. There isn’t as much activity now, but there’s still plenty to photograph, especially if you know where to look! The plan this morning was to get to Circle B early enough to walk around to Wading Bird Way before sunrise. I had visions of sunrise pictures over the marsh. But then Dyeyo’s Sand Hill Crane family was out on Heron Hideout, and I dallied a little too long saying hello to the baby (now almost adult). So the sun was rising behind me as I hiked the Eagle Roost. I still got some fun sunrise pictures: Ten minutes later, I was out on Wading Bird Way, and the sun was already getting high in the sky. I set my lens to a high f-stop number to try to make the sun do the “star” effect. It did, and the reflection in the water was gorgeous. Small flocks of birds kept flying over my head, so I practiced my birds-in-flight photography. I was really excited to get the […]

Beyond the Backyard

Cold Birdwatching at Circle B Bar Reserve

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Dyeyo, Rich, and I were very cold birdwatchers at the Circle B Bar Reserve this morning.  My wool hat from Pittsburgh came in handy! I saw my first limpkins on Wading Bird Way today.  Look at that long spear of a beak! The limpkins were fishing for their breakfasts as we watched.  This guy had his head down for a while, and he came up with his prey wrapped around his beak. The trees that used to be covered in double-crested cormorants are almost always empty now.  I guess the cold weather agreed with them about as well as it agrees with me!  This spoonbill looked lonely all by himself. There were tons of laughing gulls on Wading Bird Way.  This one caught a big fish, then all his buddies ran after him and tried to steal it.  Go catch your own fish, silly birds! We saw these little least sandpipers running along the water’s edge on Wading Bird Way.  At first they were near a limpkin, and Dyeyo thought they might be baby limpkins (wouldn’t that have been nice!)  It’s rather deceiving, the way they posed next to the limpkin’s favorite apple snails…but no, they are sandpipers. It was […]