On the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve

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I always say I’m not going to take any more pictures of blue-gray gnatcatchers. But they are so cute and this one posed for just a second.

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Snowy egret standing next to the moss. He was screaming “Doesn’t this look like a Florida picture?”

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The nest motel tree in the middle of the lake. The great blue heron on the right was bringing sticks to the one on the left. They were working on a nest. There were also cormorants sitting on nests in the same tree on the other side.

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Why do the little birds always bother the big birds? This hawk was sitting there minding his own business and the black bird started to dive bomb him.

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One of the sandhill crane couples walking through the marsh. I have since heard they were on a nest.

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This great egret is just starting to get his green breeding feathers around his beak.

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This male anhinga is also starting to get his breeding colors around his face.

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Soon the eastern phoebes will be heading north for the summer. I’m going to miss seeing them around the intersection of Marsh Rabbit Run trail and Heron Hideout trail.

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What a life these guys have. Sleeping the afternoon away in the sun.

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The caterpillars were out.

A Saturday morning walk around Circle B Bar Reserve in late February.

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A new park for me

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I found a sleepy yellow crowned night heron snoozing in a tree along the boardwalk. He was sleeping right next to an empty nest. Hopefully, he’s planning to use it soon. He was looking pretty grumpy.

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Yes, another blue-gray gnatcatcher.

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Female red-winged blackbird in the bush.

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Another one on the ground along the boardwalk.

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Yellow rumped warbler posing for me. Why are these the only ones that like to show off?

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Pretty green feathers on the male mallard. Mating season has begun.

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I found this lone female hooded merganser hanging out with a mallard couple. She was asleep on my first lap around the park. She was just floating along the creek.

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On my 2nd lap around the park, she was awake and watching me.

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She started to dive for food and did not seem to care if I was around.

I’ve been by the golf driving range in Largo a million times. I did not realize there was a park behind it. It’s a small park but has a nice layout. On one side is the driving range. Another side has a small creek with a golf course across from it. The third side is the same creek around the bend with houses across from it. There are several paved paths and a nice boardwalk around a very small pond. It was cold the morning I headed over. Practically freezing here at a chilly 48 degrees! But, the sun was out and it warmed up fast. I had heard there were cedar waxwings hanging around the park. I saw them there but they were far away on the other side of the creek into the sun. I walked two laps around the park and saw them later fly overhead. Off into the yonder. Oh well, I’ll try to head over there again before they leave for spring.

I’m blue for you

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The trees and bushes at just about any park I visit right now are full of blue-gray gnatcatchers. They migrate down for the winter and don’t stay put for a second. They flit in and out of bushes so quickly. You can usually find them pretty easily from their constant movement.  I was able to catch a few of them sitting still for a second on a recent trip to Circle B Bar Reserve. Such a cute little bird!

Little to big

DSC_9152The tiniest bird I saw that day. A blue-gray gnatcatcher looking up.

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Not too much bigger is the eastern phoebe. You can usually find them hanging out at the intersection of Marsh Rabbit Run and Heron Hideout.

DSC_9137A little bit bigger, there’s been a kingfisher hanging out in the same corner as the phoebe.

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This early fall, there’s been a purple gallinule family hanging out in the same corner as well.

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Getting bigger, I found these juvenile limpkins hiding in the marsh. They still have some baby fuzz on them.

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A parent was close by watching me.

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The American bitterns are back. This one was hiding in the marsh on Wading Bird Way. Another photog with a keen eye found him.

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Taken right into the sun, the anhinga was flipping his fish.

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“I’m the biggest one here.” says the turkey vulture showing off.

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“Bye, bye” says the ducks as they take off after an eagle flew over them.

Lots of the same ole thing at Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-November.

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Back at Circle B Bar Reserve after 5 months away.

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Sad picture but I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a yellow-bellied sapsucker here. I’ve only seen them in Atlanta.

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Blue gray gnatcatcher looking up as usual.

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I’m not sure what this is. He was deep in the bushes. I’m thinking a yellow warbler but that would be too easy.

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This looks like a palm warbler. They are pretty common here in the winter (which translates into “you’ll be seeing a ton of these on the blog”).

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Some type of sparrow. I think it’s a Savannah sparrow with that little bit of yellow around the eyes.

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The eastern phoebes have returned to their usual winter spot at the corner of Marsh Rabbit Run trail and Heron Hideout trail.

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The stork tree, out in the middle of the lake.

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Ring neck duck reflection. There has been one ring neck duck hanging around Wading Bird Way lately. I guess he’s waiting for all of his “snowbird” duck friends to get down here.

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This is the only alligator I saw on this trip. I know there are tons of them there.

This was my first trip back to Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland since May. It was early October so there still wasn’t a lot of migrating ducks there but there were a few little birds moving through. Seeing palm warblers, blue gray gnatcatchers and eastern phoebes means that winter is on its way. Now if only the heat would go away. Under 80 degrees would be nice. The park looked the same, except for the overgrown weeds along the trail. Those will die down once the cold weather hits. The park also recently mowed the trails so it’s good to see ahead and not to have to worry about alligators popping out in front of you. Soon I’ll be heading out there often.

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Blurry birds at Sawgrass Lake

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As soon as I got out of my car I snapped this of a dove. He was sitting right in front of me. I thought this may be the only bird I see so I didn’t want to miss it.

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Gnatcatchters have the cutest personalities. I know it’s just a tiny bird but look how cute that face is. He seemed to be curious about me even though he was far away.

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Here’s another one hanging upside down while watching me.

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Another one peeking out between the branches. There were several of them buzzing around high up in the trees next to the parking lot.

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The other birders there told me this was a blackburnian warbler. It looks like from my Stokes Birding Guide. He was really high up in the trees.

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I think this was a female blackburnian warbler.

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Another “little yellow” bird.

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Another fuzzy “little yellow” bird. It has those stripe markings on the front chest.  I went there looking for the Canada warbler that had been sighted there but I don’t think this was it.

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I did get to see a cool snake along the boardwalk.

I headed out to Sawgrass Lake after work in late September to look for the Canada warbler that had been sighted there a few days early. Yes, I know, a needle in a big haystack. When I first got there I ran into two other birders. We looked around in the area it was last spotted. I started taking pictures of other little birds since we could not find the Canada one. The birds there were staying high up in the big trees. The sun was quickly going to down behind the trees and the light was terrible. I spend about 10 minutes taking pictures of the little blue-gray gnatcatchers and then turned around and saw another 10-15 birders had showed up. We were all looking for that one bird. No one saw it that night that we know of . It got dark quickly and I headed home with migrating bird neck pain from staring up in those tall trees.

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Birds on a warm morning in January – Skywatch Friday

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Carolina wren singing early in the morning.

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Sleepy looking blue gray gnatcatcher.

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This male painted bunting was trying to hide deep in the bushes. He looked at me for a second and then took off the other way. I went up and down the trail looking for him but could not find him again.

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A barred owl sitting on the nest. We’re hoping they nest here again this year but this dead tree is across the ditch and far away.

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Bald cypress trees into the sun early in the morning. It almost looks like this could have been a cold winter day but it was 60 degrees heading quickly to almost 80 in mid January.

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Coots crossing the lake.

A few pictures from a walk around Circle B Bar Reserve.

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