Ducks in a tree?

I can’t stop taking pictures of the black bellied whistling ducks at Circle B Bar Reserve. The reserve is pretty much the only place I see them (I’ve seen a few at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa but that’s rare). They are very chatty and have so much personality. Look at those pink feet! They nest in holes or hollows in trees so I guess that’s why they spend a lot of time in trees. They were hanging out in a big old dead tree right along the trail.

The marsh was also covered with them. It was loud that morning walking down the trail and hearing them all whistling at the same time. The ones with the gray beaks are juveniles. There were several families there. They usually leave in late spring and the marsh is quiet again until the next winter.

Black bellies and yellow flowers

It’s always fun to see black bellied whistling ducks playing in the marsh. This time they were playing among the yellow bur marigolds in late December. Several families were hanging out in the same area. The adults have pink beaks and the juveniles still have gray beaks.

One was keeping an eye on a tricolored heron that was close to the group.

Flying across the marsh at Circle B Bar Reserve.

SkyWatch Friday

Whistlers in the fog

I realized after standing there for a while on the trail and watching the black bellied whistling ducks flying around in circles what they were doing.  The groups of juveniles would take off together and fly around in a small circle and land back in the marsh near their parents. They were practicing for that flight back up north in the spring. They would all whistle together as they flew around me and landed. It was fun to watch them in the early morning fog.

Lots of activity the morning I was there in early January. I hadn’t seen that many whistlers together in the marsh in a long time. They were all very busy feeding and flying around. There were a few young ones left that still had their pin feathers in. I hope some of them stay over through the spring. I miss hearing that whistling sound when they are not here at Circle B Bar Reserve.

So many things to see

As I walked down Marsh Rabbit Run trail, I heard the black bellied whistling ducks yelling. It’s rare that they are quiet in the morning so I didn’t think anything of it. Then they all started to fly away and I saw on the right of the trail what scared them away.

The alligator got half way across the trail and then backed down into the water. I waited a while before heading on. Maybe he decided there was too much traffic on the trail to cross.

Other stuff along the trail.

Looks like he was close but was actually in the middle of the lake.  Cropped in.

A foggy start to the morning but ended up being a beautiful day in early December at Circle B Bar Reserve.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Plants and baby ducks at Lettuce Lake Park

Some of the many plants at Lettuce Lake Park.

I caught a quick glimpse of a black bellied whistling duck family. They were passing through under the boardwalk and headed into the swamp. They paused for a few minutes and I snapped the above. The babies are so cute. They look like little bumble bees.

More of the same

A red shoulder hawk greets me as I walk on the trail. Right after I shot the hawk, an eagle flies high over my head.

A snowy egret skimming along the marsh and a great blue heron posing.

I think this is a female indigo bunting. I had heard there were buntings in this part of the trail but I didn’t see any male blue ones.  Any confirmation?

One of the many sparrows that hangs out at the intersection of Heron Hideout trail and Eagles Roost trail. Not sure if it’s a Savannah or Swamp,

This little lady flew right in front of me and landed on the tiny stick. She sat there forever.

More black bellied whistling ducks in the marsh.

Same ole gators along the trail.

From my early November visit to Circle B Bar Reserve.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World