Typical and not so typical at Circle B Bar Reserve

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Typical green heron. He was not paying attention to me.

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Not so typical american bittern. They only visit in the winter and are usually really hard to find. Several other people were watching this one already.

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Typical little blue heron with a frog for breakfast.

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Typical blue wing teal. These are common here in the winter.

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They were trying to sleep.

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I think this is a savannah sparrow. Not that typical but not rare.

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The very typical black bellied whistling ducks. Looking cute as ever.

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Coming in for a landing.

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Not typical, my first virginia rail. He was being very allusive hiding in the reeds.

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Not a typical bird but a typical squirrel eating. Look at his little fingers holding that snack.

Things were quiet on this late January walk around Circle B Bar Reserve.

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Back at Circle B Bar Reserve after 5 months away.

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Sad picture but I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a yellow-bellied sapsucker here. I’ve only seen them in Atlanta.

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Blue gray gnatcatcher looking up as usual.

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I’m not sure what this is. He was deep in the bushes. I’m thinking a yellow warbler but that would be too easy.

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This looks like a palm warbler. They are pretty common here in the winter (which translates into “you’ll be seeing a ton of these on the blog”).

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Some type of sparrow. I think it’s a Savannah sparrow with that little bit of yellow around the eyes.

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The eastern phoebes have returned to their usual winter spot at the corner of Marsh Rabbit Run trail and Heron Hideout trail.

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The stork tree, out in the middle of the lake.

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Ring neck duck reflection. There has been one ring neck duck hanging around Wading Bird Way lately. I guess he’s waiting for all of his “snowbird” duck friends to get down here.

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This is the only alligator I saw on this trip. I know there are tons of them there.

This was my first trip back to Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland since May. It was early October so there still wasn’t a lot of migrating ducks there but there were a few little birds moving through. Seeing palm warblers, blue gray gnatcatchers and eastern phoebes means that winter is on its way. Now if only the heat would go away. Under 80 degrees would be nice. The park looked the same, except for the overgrown weeds along the trail. Those will die down once the cold weather hits. The park also recently mowed the trails so it’s good to see ahead and not to have to worry about alligators popping out in front of you. Soon I’ll be heading out there often.

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Hanging around a cemetery

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When I first got to Oakland cemetery it was raining so I stood under the covered porch at the visitor’s center and was watching the house sparrows feed at the feeder.

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The rain stopped and it was only a light drizzle so I started walking around.  I saw this brown thrasher in the bushes by the center.

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My first American goldfinch. It’s either a female or juvenile.  Males have a small black cap on their forehead. They are not uncommon in central Florida but they usually only come through during migration and I kept missing them. Thanks to Cobb for the ID.

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Pigeon hanging around the cemetery.

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Yes, another robin. They were everywhere I went in Atlanta.

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These two juvenile robins were chasing each other around.

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Another brown thrasher.

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Squirrel eating his nut upside down. He makes it look so comfortable.

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Someone had been walking his dog and they sat down to rest.

Just a few things I saw on my rainy walk around the Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.

So many birds at Circle B Bar Reserve – Skywatch Friday

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Right as I got on the trail this glossy ibis went flying over my head.

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Female anhinga. She was posing too nice not stop and take a picture. She was so close to the trail and I only had my fixed 300mm lens with me so this was all I could get of her. She was not skittish.

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I would like to think this is a savannah sparrow with that small yellow streak over her eye.  Let me know if this is wrong. All info says these are pretty common but I haven’t seen one before with the yellow on the face that I can remember.

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Pretty limpkin posing for me.

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This glossy ibis was too busy to be bothered by me. When the sun hits their feathers you can really see the color.

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Blue gray gnatcatcher high up in the trees.

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My attempt in getting a flying shot of a tree swallow. Those little buggers are fast. They were buzzing all around my head. I was torturing myself for a while before I gave up.

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I walked right past this pileated woodpecker at first. I heard his high pitch call and walked back a few trees. He was high up in the trees.

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There were baby great blue heron sightings that had been reported earlier in the week. I got to the nest first thing in the morning and waiting for a half hour for the mom to stand up.  I left the nest and walked the other trails and came back and stood another half hour. It was cloudy and cold so I think she was hunkered down for the morning. I snapped this just for the record.

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When I got home and zoomed in on the above photo, I realized the baby was peeking out of mom’s rear end. The baby is pretty big at this point. By the time I get back there he should be standing up pretty good.

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Celery Fields at the end of the day

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Yes, pied grebes are everywhere in central Florida.

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Sparrow watching me.

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Yellowlegs walking around in a pond. I don’t see these guys very often.

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Cattle egret flyby.

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I saw these ducks up ahead in the pond. When we got close, they all took off flying. I realized as they flew by that they were all northern shovelers. It’s not often we see them around.

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The sun had gone behind a dark cloud and we were heading towards the parking lot when I saw a red shoulder hawk fly by. I saw him land on a pole with another hawk and they started going at it for a few seconds. Not a good shot but at least we know there won’t be a shortage of hawks next year.

Our New Year’s day trip to Sarasota ended in a quick walk around the Celery Fields before hitting the highway to head back home. It was getting late and the sun had gone behind dark clouds before going down. I hadn’t been to the fields in over a year so I wanted to see if it had changed. It was a lot more overgrown in the ponds than I remembered. There wasn’t a lot of birds around and the few that were there were pretty skittish. We saw a lot of hawks on our walk and one bald eagle from very far away.

The Celery Fields used to be a celery farm many years ago and is now run by Sarasota county as a storm water collection zone. It’s right off the highway and easy to get to if you’re in the Sarasota area. It’s been known as a sandhill crane roosting area at certain times of the year, I think primarily in the fall. We did see a few of the cranes during our walk but they were far back in the ponds.

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Tweeters and croakers at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

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Not a tweeter or croaker but still cute. I think he thought I couldn’t see him behind that branch.

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Blue jay in the winter.

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Sparrows landing on the feeder at the gardens.

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The feeders were busy but mostly sparrows and blue jays.

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Inside one of the buildings was a tropical frog exhibit. These were all in indoor enclosures.

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Blue frog posing.

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This was an exotic frog inside. We did not see any of the outside frogs in the frog pond that morning. I think the air was too cold for them and they were hiding in the water until the sun came out.

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Mockingbird posing on an empty rose bush.

Just a few of the animals we saw on our pre-Christmas walk around the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.

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A morning in a cemetery – Skywatch Friday

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It wouldn’t be a day out in nature without seeing some squirrels.

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Blue jay keeping an eye on me.

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I think this is a chipping sparrow?  They were all over the cemetery.

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Getting a drink from an empty planter.

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Robins were everywhere.

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Mockingbird on a cross.

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A warbler in the bushes.

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I could hear this carolina wren singing all over the cemetery.

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Flowers were still blooming.

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You can see the capital from across the cemetery.

Even though it was a little cold, it was a beautiful morning. The sun came in and out all morning. Nothing like spending a little time in a cemetery right before Christmas. I’m sure the people there thought I was crazy with my long lens taking pictures of birds. I’ve always said “Cemeteries have good birds.” Even in downtown Atlanta. I was surprised to see so many birds there. I didn’t see the red-headed woodpeckers that I had seen on my last 2 trips there. They may have been hiding. I thought I’d only be there an hour and then go somewhere else, maybe the zoo close by but ended up staying 3 hours.

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