I had my first real close encounter with a big one recently at Circle B Bar Reserve. I’ve been visiting this park for over 10 years and until recently, I always joked that the gators were fake. They never seemed to move, just sleeping on the other side of the pond. I was at the park early and the water levels along the trails were high. The first picture was taken with my 300mm lens so I wasn’t that close. The second one was taken with my phone. That’s my shadow at the bottom. There were people coming up behind me and once the big guy crossed the trail, we all headed down together. Our theory was safety in numbers. By the time we got to were he had crossed, we saw him swimming half way across the lake.
Another big one on the same morning, taken with my 300mm lens.
A few tiny ones on the trail.
One of the “really” big ones across the lake, on the other side of the bank.
Otherwise, it was a slow morning with the usual turtles and warblers.
It finally looks like fall in late December.
Linking to My Corner of the World.
Plants along the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve in mid May.
Not as up close as it looks. They were swimming out in the lake.
It’s rare now to have quiet time on the trail here. Even early in the morning there are usually a lot of people out. I was there in mid May on a rare Friday off and it had been raining off and on. I got sprinkled on a few times but at least it wasn’t hot.
Saw the little piggies again on another trip to Circle B Bar Reserve in early March. They had gotten just a little bit bigger. They were venturing out farther away from Mom but she kept her eye on them.
Cute little bunny on the trail.
Tiny snake and big alligators.
This is a shot of the big gator above taken with my phone. He wasn’t too close and I was also up on a raised boardwalk.
Non-flying critters at Circle B Bar Reserve, although one day, pigs may fly.
Linking to Wednesday Around the World.
Why do the cardinals sit right in front of you and pose while all of the other little birds drive you crazy by not sitting still for a second?
This yellow throated warbler drove me crazy. Would not sit still at all.
The spoonbills were moving slow this morning. So were the ring neck ducks that were hanging out with the spoonies.
The alligators and turtles were lumps on a log, sleeping soundly,
Tree swallows are another bird that never sits still. These guys zoom back and forth non-stop all morning. Right before I was leaving I saw some of them land on dead branch across the marsh. It was the first time I had ever seen them rest.
Another trip to Circle B Bar Reserve in mid March.
It was a slow critter morning so I started taking pictures of the plants at Possum Branch Preserve near my house. It was a mix of end of winter and not quite yet spring things around the preserve.
I saw the above hanging on a tree. Some sort of cocoon?
The plants in the marsh were just starting to turn brown.
The usual gators in the pond.
Linking to Wednesday Around the World.
Nothing at Chesnut Park but gators so I headed over to another park to see if the baby owl was awake.
The parent was easy to find. Just look for the big group of photographers pointing their cameras up at her. Since the baby was sleeping when I first got to the park, everyone was keeping an eye on her.
A little while later, a head pops up. The baby great horned owl was awake, barely.
She was staring up at Mom for a while but I don’t think Mom was ready to feed her so after a few minutes the baby went back to sleep.
Mom seemed to be a little sleepy still as well.
Linking to Wednesday Around The World.
There was a small fish kill on the lake due to the freeze we had for several nights in January. Even thought it got just below freezing here, the fish aren’t use to the cold and there was a small amount of fish floating near the trail per the last picture. The clean up crew (vultures) at Circle B Bar Reserve moved in quickly and were dragging the dead fish up on the trail and feasting away the weekend I was there. They didn’t even bother to move as we walked down the trail. Just kept eating.
The trees were full of fat and happy vultures.
Several alligators were up on the trail. The vultures didn’t move away when the alligators came up.
This was Momma pig right before she had her babies when she was hanging around the nature center. She walked by so close I could only get her face in. She has since had a litter. More on that to come.
The barred owls were still hiding under the palm tree in mid January. They have since moved to the nest in the hole in the tree.
Vultures are usually plentiful at Circle B Bar Reserve but in mid January the place was covered in them. They were in the trees all along Marsh Rabbit Run Trail and along the trail feasting on the dead fish. The smell was a little ripe in some places but they were busy cleaning up the place. I went back several weeks later and there was no sign of any dead fish.