My first trip back to Circle B Bar Reserve since mid-March. It has been closed all of that time and had just re-opened the week before I went in late May. I was there very early and headed out to the trails. This red shoulder hawk was welcoming me back.
Not many people there at 7:15 and it was good to be back on the trails.
Not many birds either. Just the usual suspects posing along the trail.
Talk about feeling like you are being watched. The alligators were close to the trails. They were use to having them all to themselves for 2 months.
The clouds were rolling in but I didn’t care.
So much for the social distancing thing. This group came by and instead of walking by on one side of the trail in a single file, they crowded the trail. I stepped off to let them go by but I couldn’t go too far off without stepping into the marsh and getting eaten by a gator. It was time to head back to the car at this point.
Not before stopping to catch this pretty cattle egret.
All of the small city parks in Pinellas county were open (playgrounds and bathrooms were closed) in early April so I was going to the same ones just to get out and walk. The parks were quiet and spring migration hadn’t really started yet. Working from home has made me crave long walks in the parks even more. I would usually stop on the way home once or twice a week to walk after work in the spring before it got to hot but now that I”m home it’s hard to get out after work.
I’ve only heard of two whooping cranes in central Florida although they supposedly migrate to an area farther north of Tampa in the winter. I think the ones I went looking for don’t migrate and live here all year. People have seen them in the area most of the year. I had an idea of the area they were in and drove a while down dirt roads lined with cow pastures and orange groves. I was thinking “needle in a haystack” and was ready to go home empty handed when I saw two white spots far away in a cow pasture. Excited, I pulled over and got out and snapped a few shots. Using my 300mm lens with an extender, the above were extremely cropped
Uncropped, they were in a small pond in the middle of a cow pasture.
Taken with my phone, you could really see how far away they were. See those two tiny white dots right in the middle?
There were a lot of other birds out in the pasture that you could only see with a long lens, including several kildeer in the first shot and lots of cattle egrets in the bottom two shots. It was a perfect day to be out, even if it was standing on a dirt road with the smell of cow pasture blowing in my direction.
The wild cattle egrets at Gatorland had come in to the mangrove bushes along the alligator exhibit to nest. They were sporting their breeding bright colors around their face and beaks. They were busy flirting and chasing each other and were very comical to watch.
Many were bringing sticks back to the nest that they had secured.
This couple had been flirting all morning.
This couple had already built a nest in the bushes and were ready to get busy. Nesting season was in full swing in mid-April when I spent the morning at the park in Orlando.
I just recently noticed this sign that was posted at the entrance to the bird rookery.
The Flamingo Gardens near Ft. Lauderdale takes in a lot of permanently injured animals to live their lives out here. As I was walking around the aviary this pelican came right up to me as if to say “Come hang out with me.”. It looked like he had an injured wing.
A barred owl with a missing eye.
A few other birds in the aviary.
The white pelicans had very distinctive faces.
The pelicans were nesting and swimming around.
A pretty cattle egret posing for me.
All taken in the permanent injured aviary.
I’ve been recently posting a lot of older pictures on Instagram. If you are over there you can find me at @dinaj1.
Northern shovelers aren’t extremely rare in the Tampa bay area but I haven’t seen any in a long time. There were 2 couples close the edge of the water at Largo Nature Preserve in late January and they didn’t seem to mind me watching them. They look a lot like mallards but have that goofy big square bill.
Anhingas are like clowns. They have the funniest personalities, that is when they are not half asleep drying their wings out. They sway their head back and forth and honk when you walk by. The males have a black neck and the females have a brown or beige neck. I think that last one was yawning.
Egrets along the trail. A snowy, cattle and a great egret in the last one above.
Other birds along the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve in early January were a limpkin looking for food, a grebe doing his yoga stretch, a glossy ibis glowing in the sun and a hawk looking out over his domain.
And one of the hundreds of blue-gray gnatcatchers.
This little moorhen was walking along the trail with someone.