Long walk on the trails

Looks like a good morning for a walk.

Still a little bit of yellow along the trail.

I found these young juvenile purple gallinules feeding along the trail. One was almost completely purple and the other hadn’t quite got his bright purple feathers in yet.

Views from the trail including that small alligator cruising along the lake.

The long walk around. I took the long way around Eagle’s Roost Trail to avoid the crowds later in the morning. I had the trail all to myself. This was right before my hip started hurting so I’ve only made a short trip back since then and stayed close to the parking lot area,

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Just catching sunrise.

I use to set my alarm to get up early on the weekends but lately my internal alarm has been going off early and I got out of bed one Saturday morning in November and headed to Circle B Bar Reserve. Although, not that early since the sun was just peaking out as I hit the trails. It’s the perfect time to be there, quiet and not many people there yet. You can hear the birds starting to talk and the whistling ducks were starting to fly back and forth.

One of my favorite views in the morning.

There wasn’t a lot of different birds out. The usuals were there (moorhens, whistlers, herons, egrets, cormorants) but I didn’t see many uncommon birds. The above are fairly common in the winter (female common yellowthroat, house wren and the purple gallinules) but sometimes a little bit harder to find.

Some of the smaller critters along the trail.

The eagle’s nest is pretty far away but I could still see both eagles on the nest. Maybe she’s looking at her eggs in the nest?  Might have been a little early but soon.

SkyWatch Friday

A drive along the lake

Everyone was eating breakfast at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive in late October.

A great blue heron off in the distance.

A young purple gallinule showing off his big feet.

A kingfisher sitting still. I took this from the car since I knew the second I opened that door he would be gone.

A tricolored heron guarding the sign.

A few of the smaller gators along the drive. I never seem to see the really big ones there.

More along the drive. I was having hip pain in late October so I decided to head over to the wildlife drive in Apopka and stay off me feet for a while. I ended up with hip bursitis which has slowed me down for a while in early November. It was taking forever to heal since I can’t seem to sit still very long.

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By the dock at Chesnut Park

It’s fairly rare to see purple gallinules in Pinellas county. Occasionally one pops up in a weird spot but doesn’t stay long. I usually only see them in central Florida, at Circle B Bar Reserve or Lake Parker. Now there seems to be several families living near the dock over the lake at Chesnut Park. They’ve been reported there for several weeks and they have a juvenile with them. They were really close to the dock.

The juvenile doesn’t quite have his bright colors yet.

This squirrel was missing his tail.

Little critters along the dock.

These dogs at the end of the dock looked at me like “We don’t know what they are staring at. Would you play with us?”

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Usual stuff at Circle B Bar Reserve

One of my favorite trees at Circle B Bar Reserve. A bald cypress in the middle of the lake. It looks like a great blue heron is nesting on it.

Some of the usual birds along the trail.

A few not so common ones, a Wilson’s snipe and a chipping sparrow.

Purple gallinules were all along the trail.

A few crawling critters.

Across the lake, I could just make out the bald eagles sitting on the right side of the tree. You can also see one of the baby’s brown head sticking up off the nest.

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More from my drive along Lake Apopka.

I rarely see baby purple gallinules. They are very skittish. I caught this little one running in between the reeds. Look at those big yellow feet!

The parents were close by.

Two juvenile common gallinules (or moorhens) hanging out.

The only birds I saw along the drive were common ones.

Turkey vultures are also common along the drive but it’s not often you get to see one up close and with a snack.

Young tree swallows perching on the utility wire. It’s rare to see these guys resting.

Another common site along the drive, an anhinga with a fish.

A beautiful morning to be out.

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Up close with a purple clown.

I got lucky. As I was walking down Heron Hideout Trail, I spotted a purple gallinule close to the trail and the sun was out. His bright colors really popped so I took a ton of pictures. He was climbing around the alligator flag plant trying to eat the seeds and kept falling off. Such a beautiful bird and so much charisma.

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On the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve

Great egrets and spoonbills were in the air and in the muck.

Bittern, limpkin, anhinga and wood stork on the trail.

A house wren hiding in the bushes.

Coot with cool feet.

A kingfisher actually sitting still.

Purple gallinule eating something yucky.

Lots of activity in late March at Circle B Bar Reserve but nothing unusual.

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Same Ole, Same Ole

The barred owls have been hanging out next to the parking lot for a while now.

The reserve is full of green herons. They are now a usual suspect.

Along with male anhingas showing off.

And the glossy ibis sparkling in the sun are a dime a dozen.

The cute pied grebes aren’t as skittish as they use to be.

There’s always snowy egrets in a body of water.

Now I see purple gallinules every time I walk Alligator Alley trail.

Even a great blue heron baby in the nest during spring is common here.

Seeing a bald eagle somewhere in the park is pretty common, even if its way up high half hidden in a cypress tree.

But I still love walking the trails at Circle B Bar Reserve and seeing all of the above every time I’m here. Even when it gets crowded on the weekends. I just get there a little earlier and leave before lunch when the crowd starts coming in.

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