Last spring trip to Circle B Bar Reserve

A few things blooming on the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve at the end of March.

Looking across the pond, I took this straight into the sun.

The painted buntings were still there and I was able to catch two males sitting near each other. After feeding they both flew across the canal.

A crow showing me his nesting material before taking off.

A few fly bys. A cattle egret up in the sky and a great blue heron cruising low over two alligators.

It doesn’t get much better than this. A cool sunny morning on the trails.

I could see an eagle high up in the cypress tree across the pond.

Farther down the trail I saw two eagles chasing each other.

They both landed high up in the trees and sat together for a while, often yelling. Mating season was over so I’m not sure what they were doing. Maybe a late nest? Maybe they were making plans to meet up this fall? Or they were talking about how great their new kids were?

I’m thinking this will be my last trip here until late Fall. It’s a long drive to Lakeland and it’s too hot to be out on the trails in the middle of summer. I’ll be sticking close to home and the coast to catch a little breeze (although probably a hot one).

My Corner of the World

Rainbows on the trail.

Ladies first. I first saw a female painted bunting walking down the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-March. I was thinking even if I didn’t see a male one, the female is still a beauty!

Then this guy flew in front of me and stole the show. The male painted buntings are a rainbow of colors. They don’t even look real. This one was very accomodating, eating seed right along the trail.

He was gorging on the seed. I just stood there for a while and didn’t move.Luckily no one was coming up behind me on the trail to scare it away. I had my 400mm lens and these are cropped so he wasn’t that close but close enough for me to get some good looks.

A little farther down the trail I saw another one.

A third one popped up but he stayed farther in the reeds and a little bit more hidden. What a great morning this was. It’s rare for me to see one but to see three was a treat. They stayed on the trails for a while. I went back later and saw them again.

My Corner of the World

I found the needle in the haystack

Circle B Bar Reserve is a huge place. I’ve walked the trails for fours hours at time and not walked in the same place. The painted buntings have been seen around the nature center and out on the trails during the winter on a regular basis although I rarely see them there. I didn’t expect to see them on this trip in late March. I was walking around behind the nature center and was heading for my car and saw a flash of color go by. I realized it was a painted bunting.

This little guy was eating the seed in the tall grass behind the center.

I realized when I got home and cropped these up that it was one of the regulars that has been seen at the reserve this winter. People call him “Peg Leg” since he is missing his left foot. He’s perched on the stalk with his right foot and his left leg. That’s why you can only see one foot in the first picture.

He flew into a tree and then flew across the parking lot.

I walked over and found a female painted bunting. She really blended into the bushes and this was the only shot I got of her.

I found Peg Leg again as he continued to eat. The leg with the missing foot is quite clear in this shot.

He posed for me, probably thinking “Lady I’m trying to eat.” although I was pretty far away. It was a nice way to end this trip. This might have been a record year of painted bunting sightings for me.

Rainbows in the woods

I was in the mood for a road trip but didn’t want to go anywhere that I would have to walk far. I headed down to a small Audubon preserve about an hour south of Tampa. There’s a small preserve run by the Audubon Society that has feeders set up with a blind in the middle of a neighborhood (mostly horse farms and small cow pastures). It was 40 degrees when I got there early in the morning in late December. No one else was around. I got to the blind and sat for a few minutes thinking “Is it too cold for the birds?”. I walked around the small preserve for a while and when I came back to the blind a half hour later I just sat on the bench. I was about to give up when a saw a flash of color head to the feeders. Several male painted buntings and young blue buntings started coming to feeder.  One was sitting on an empty feeder waiting his turn at the full feeder. I think this is the most painted buntings I’ve seen in one place. I ended up spending an hour watching these beautiful birds in the quiet.

Walking out of the preserve, I noticed this tree had turned bright orange. Yes, fall was starting to hit in late December.

Colors of the rainbow

Yellow warbler.

My first blue winged warbler with a snack.

Lots of indigo buntings at the park this year.

Female indigo buntings don’t have any blue at all.

Scarlet tanagers have black wings.

Orchard orioles

Eastern kingbirds.

A rare western kingbird.

A painted bunting foraging for food on the ground.

We had great fall out the 3rd weekend in April for migrating birds. After a storm on Friday afternoon, I headed out to Fort Desoto park to see if any of the spring migrating birds had stopped by for a rest. Everyone else had the same idea. Even though there were a ton of people at the park there were lots of birds as well. It’s always fun running into old friends at the park in the spring and having more eyes to spot birds.This was the busiest weekend this spring and I spent most of the day there with lots more pictures to come.

A rainbow of birds at Fort Desoto

Painted buntings were all over the ground.

Summer tanager.

Scarlet tanagers have black wings.

Lots of prothonotary warblers.

An immature male orchard oriole. He’ll turn a burnt dark orange after his next molt.

Above are female orchard orioles.

A rare Kentucky warbler.

An immature blue indigo looking back at me.

Fort Desoto Park in south Pinellas county is known as a hot spot for birds migrating through in the spring and fall. The birds seem to be more plentiful in spring vs. fall migration. All of the above were seen in a 2 hour period in mid-April. Just standing quietly in the bushes watching them fly in and eat the mulberries with 20 or so other people. All with our long lenses and binoculars. I was using my 300mm lens with a 1.4 extender to zoom in. These are also cropped up so we were all pretty far away.

 

 

Rainbow of birds

I finally got some shots of the painted buntings that have hanging around the nature center at Circle B Bar Reserve.

A lady painted bunting was also present.

A juvenile indigo bunting was eating on the ground.

Other usual birds were the gnatcatcher and the yellow rumped warbler.

Sandhill cranes were around, digging in the dirt for bugs.

Lots of birds flying around.

Across the lake, an eagle sits in a bald cypress tree.

Just a few pretty things at Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-March.

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

Cute little birds at Circle B Bar Reserve

Lots of cute little birds around the nature center in mid February: palm wabler, blue gray gnatcatcher, female indigo bunting and several female painted buntings.

Of the course everyone wants the shot of the male painted bunting. We knew there was at least one there but after searching over an hour, I was about to give up when this guy above stopped for a second before taking off again. I snapped this quickly before he was gone only to get a blurry shot.

Red leaves in the winter.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World.

Flying rainbows

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I had heard there were painted buntings at Circle B Bar Reserve in early November. I hadn’t seen one in years so I headed out hoping to see one. I walked halfway down the trail and saw a flash of color fly into the bushes. I could barely see him hiding. I snapped the above in case that was the only sighting I would get.

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Farther down the trail, several people were taking pictures of this guy.  He was eating close to the trail but we had to shoot directly into the sun.

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A few minutes later, he moved outside of the bush but was still directly into the sun.

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I continued on and saw this guy fly into the bottom of a bush. He was very accommodating and posed nicely but didn’t stay long. Only for a few seconds.

It’s always fun to see these special birds.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

A rainbow of birds at Fort Desoto

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A scarlet tanager looking at me. Maybe he thinks I’m after his berry.

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A summer tanager with a bug hanging out of his beak.

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Another scarlet tanager with a beak full.

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A female and male painted bunting.

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He has mulberry juice on his beak.

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She’s got mulberry pieces hanging out of her mouth.

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These birds were chowing down.

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Another tanager posing.

So many pretty birds at Fort Desoto during spring migration. The mulberry trees were full and the birds were hungry. We all just stood in a line and quietly watched them eat. The big prize of the day was the painted buntings.There were several at the park that morning. This is the first decent picture I’ve gotten of one. I also took a ton of blue birds More on those later.