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.
In early March I hurt my back and ended up with a compression fracture. I had to take it easy for a while and after two weeks without long walks in a park I decided to take a road trip across central Florida to look for the whooping cranes. I figured it was easy to sit in a car and I’ve been saying I was going to go over there but just never took the time. This was also right before the big lock down. On the way home I decided to stop at Circle B Bar Reserve for a quick walk even if it was just a few minute in the parking lot. I felt pretty good (was wearing a back brace around my waist) so I walked a little ways down the main trail. It felt good to be out. I’m glad I made the effort because they closed the reserve down the next week for a while. I found the whooping cranes, more on those later. Above are sandhill cranes that were right up on the trail.
Lots of the usual birds there including the great blue heron yelling at an intruder.
It must have been soft shell turtle day because I saw three different ones on my short walk. They were up on the trail. They are usually skittish but one stopped for a pose.
I’m going to miss the tree twins.
A small part of the marsh at Circle B Bar Reserve on a beautiful day.
Things along the trail including a snack left behind by some bird.
A great blue heron strutting along.
Alligator Alley trail was finally opened after being closed for 2 years. When Hurricane Irma came through in 2017, part of the trail was washed out. The county finally rebuilt the trail and it was great to walk down it after all that time.
The view along the lake.
The marigold were still out in late November, washing the trail in yellow.
The usual herons along the trail.
A green heron sneaking around looking for food.
A house wren singing.
A coot getting friendly.
The yellow flowers always make the preserve look pretty in the fall.
The view from the blind.
Sushi for breakfast.
Walking down the trail I could hear a baby bird calling overhead. Looking up I saw this juvenile red shoulder hawk up in the tree.
Then I realized that Mom was a tree over with a frog trying to get the baby to follow her over. The baby wanted Mom to come feed it but Mom was trying to get him to fly over.
These baby turkeys were very skittish. Mom was keeping an eye on me.
Lots of young alligators along the trail.
Everything was green when I last was at Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-May. Now it’s too hot to walk there and the main trails are usually closed due to alligators mating and nesting close by until at least October so I’ll be staying close to home or the coast.
I was very safe taking these shots from the boardwalk at Gatorland. These were all taken during the early morning hours at the bird rookery. It’s hard not to take pictures when they are moving around right below you. Mating season was in full swing so they were being very loud.
This great blue heron was hanging out in the exhibit. I’m sure he knew he could make a fast getaway if needed.
The younger alligators in the ponds at the front of the park all seemed to be smiling this morning. I think they had just been fed.
Views from the observation tower. The birds nest in the bushes all along the boardwalk. There were quite a few other photographers there that morning as well.
I had a rare Friday off in mid-April and headed to Fort Desoto to see if there were any birds migrating through. I was really too early since a storm was just starting to move through. It was drizzling on and off most of the morning but it was still fun to be out at the beach, even in bad weather.
Birds were diving in the water to catch the tiny fish near the pier.
The usual great blue herons and pelicans were flying close to the pier.
A lone frigatebird was hovering right over the pier. They usually stay high up in the sky but this one was right over my head. She just kept hovering in the wind. The above are not cropped at all. I felt like I could almost reach out and grab her.
Before leaving I hit the back trail and caught this nanday parakeet peeking out of a hole in a dead palm tree. I think they nest back here but I rarely go back this far in the summer since the bugs will attack no matter how much bug spray you use.
The beautiful and rare great blue heron/great egret hybrid that lives at Fort Desoto. Harry (as I call him) can usually be found at the gulf fishing pier. In the spring during mating season his face turns blue.
Harry is the size of a great egret which is smaller than the great blue heron behind him.
A great blue heron landing on the shelter on the fishing pier.
Everyone was after this yummy snack rolling around on the beach.
Other birds were going after their usual snacks including the sandwich tern and great egret above. I think that egret had a tough time getting that fish down.
A fisherman had pulled up this tiny fish and left it on the pier so this great blue heron tiptoed up and grabbed it.
The usual birds at the fishing pier at Fort Desoto park.
A few female red breasted mergansers were swimming along the shoreline.
It’s the unofficial summer season kickoff this weekend. Although here in Florida that started months ago. I probably won’t be at the beach today since we tend to stay away on big holidays and avoid the crowds.
A beautiful morning at Fort Desoto out on the beach.
Watching all of the big boats go by, wondering about that life at sea. I recently started following a guy who pilots the big boats in and out of Tampa bay on Instagram. It’s cool to see his pictures from the boat. I bet he has some great stories to tell. You can find him at Tampabaypilot.
It’s always fun to see the dolphins swimming around the fishing pier and the little terns diving for fish.
The cactus all over the park are blooming.
Brett and I spent a Sunday morning in April just hanging out on the beach. With work, chores and family we don’t get there as much as we use to.