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.
Wild hogs hiding in the bushes. Not sure where the term “pigtails” comes from?
One of the main trails, Alligator Alley, was finally back open after closing in September of 2017. When Hurricane Irma came through, the trail was washed out and a lot of damage was done to that part of the park. The raised trail across the marsh was finally rebuilt and it was great to walk down it again in late January.
Out on the dock you could see the bald cypress trees going bald for the winter.
I was looking through some old folders recently and came across some pictures I had taken of the great old trees at Circle B Bar Reserve. Some have changed a lot, some have not changed at all and some are gone. The ones above were taken in December, 2010. They were full of wood storks and the marsh was full of coots. We rarely see coots there now.
The same tree, taken this past December.
Same trees as the first two pictures, taken in January of 2013.
The trees in the fog, taken in December of 2017.
This was taken in 2009. I loved the old tree full of moss.
My first trip to the reserve was in October 2009. The marsh and trees were full of birds.
A very rare time I was there for the sunrise, back in November 2011.
Taken in 2011, some of the frequent visitors called this the “Magic” tree. It use to always have birds on it.
The same tree in 2013. Not long after this, the tree disappeared. It must have fallen down from old age.
A recent picture of the tree that greets you on main trail. It’s rare to not stop and take a picture of some bird on it.
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.
Sandhill cranes celebrate Valentine’s Day everyday, since they have a heart built right in the top of their head.
I saw this couple out in the marsh at Circle B Bar Reserve in late November. The light wasn’t great since it was early in the morning and the sun was coming up behind the cranes. I normally wouldn’t have taken pictures of them with this light but they started dancing and flirting out in the marsh and I just started clicking away. Assuming this is a mating ritual, I’m hoping to see the couple out in the marsh on a nest soon.
Farther down the trail later that morning I saw these cranes fly by. Not sure if they are the same ones since there are several crane couples at the marsh.
They were gone from their corner when I passed by there on my way back to the car.