Beyond the Backyard

Cuckoo Pose

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I forgot to post the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo picture in my blog post Cuckoos Chasing Cuckoos from this weekend. Oops! So here’s the bird that caused several photographers to follow him up and down the Marsh Rabbit Run trail. He likes to bury himself in trees with lots of leaves, so I was very surprised when he hopped out onto a dead tree and posed for a few seconds. Too bad there are so many branches around him.

Beyond the Backyard

Expect the Unexpected at the Circle B Bar Reserve

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I went to the Circle B Bar Reserve yesterday (Friday) in hopes of a gorgeous sunrise with sun beams bursting through the clouds and reflecting over Lake Hancock.  I came home with images of a fireball and baby Limpkins!  Such is a morning at CBBR.  You never know what you’ll find out there. I arrived about half an hour before sunrise, and I headed down to Lake Hancock.  As I approached the lake, I realized that it was too foggy for a good sunrise.  I got out to the dock and waited, and a few minutes after the expected sunrise, an orange fireball appeared the sky.  I tried some HDR bracketed shots, but I didn’t like the resulting HDR images – they didn’t do the scene justice.  Besides, even at a high frame rate, the sun moved quickly enough in the frame that Photomatix didn’t align the images very well.  But I did luck out and see my first flock of Blue-Winged Teals for this fall, and they flew right in front of the sun.  Like I wrote about yesterday, I managed to get the flock and sun in the same frame for two consecutive frames.  I played with Photoshop […]

Beyond the Backyard

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo on Marsh Rabbit Run!

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The Marsh Rabbit Run trail was finally re-opened!  I went to the Circle B Bar Reserve this morning and found my very first Yellow-Billed Cuckoo!  I couldn’t believe it when he flew into a tree right over my head.  He was on Marsh Rabbit Run, about halfway down the trail.  It felt so good to be back on that trail! The water levels are low and there were not a ton of birds.  I was hoping to see some migrant warblers or maybe a Belted Kingfisher.  We didn’t.  But we did see at least five Black-Crowned Night Herons, a Purple Martin, and three Killdeer.  Compared to last week’s cloudy morning, there was a lot more bird activity today.  It was definitely worth the trip, despite the heat. The Wood Storks and Double-Crested Cormorants have returned to the reserve.  They covered the trees, looking like ornaments on Christmas trees.  A couple of cormorants posed on posts on the Wading Bird Way trail.  The lake made for good background bokeh. A Great Blue Heron also posed on a post.  He looked pretty silly with his wings spread out.  He wanted to say “hi” to all the blog readers! There’s a family of […]