This spring we had a drought here in central Florida. The marshes at Circle B Bar Reserve had all dried up except for a tiny few spots. This one marsh still had some water in it so all of the birds were feeding in the same spot. I guess the bugs were plentiful in this spot. I’m not sure how long they stayed there feeding but the morning I was there in late April they were packed in and fighting over space. The crowd was mostly great egrets, snowy egrets and spoonbills but there were a few tricolored herons, little blue herons, great blue herons and green herons. Oh, also glossy ibis, white ibis and wood storks. It’s been years since we’ve seen that many water birds congregate like that so everyone was taking tons of pictures including me.
Due to the drought we’ve had in April and May, the water level was very low at Lettuce Lake Park in north Tampa. Before I got to the boardwalk I noticed a lot of pink near the shoreline of the lake where the canoe launch is. There was a handful of spoonbills feeding close to the shoreline. They didn’t seem to mind me, kept right on feeding with barely a glance.
The moorhens were playing “Leapfrog” in the channel. Soon we’ll have “Leapfrog” babies.
A snowy egret photobombed my spoony picture.
The spoonies were trying to eat in peace but the ibis just kept following them. The spoonies in the last picture are very young. They don’t have their adult breeding bright pink feathers in yet.
Here comes more ibis.
Ibis coming in from across the lake.
Spring had sprung when I went to Circle B Bar Reserve in late March. The ducks were getting frisky, the adult spoonbills were sporting their bright pink feathers and the white ibis have their bright red beaks and feet.
Not a pretty morning but still a pretty place. The yellow flowers were just starting to come out.
Tricolored heron in the muck.
Green heron trying to blend in.
Pretty little pied (grebe).
House wren hiding in the bushes.
“Run coot run!”
It’s always fun watching them skim across the water.
Spoonies in the rain.
Only a few were mixed in with egrets and ibis.
Another view from the trail. The bushes were losing their leaves as the yellow flowers were blooming so the contrast was weird.
Even though it was drizzling on and off all morning, I still had a good walk. At least it wasn’t hot. Whether it’s sunny or cloudy, hot or cold, animals everywhere or very few around, Circle B Bar Reserve is still a perfect place.
I haven’t seen a lot of spoonbills lately. In late June, I was heading to lunch and saw a few spoonbills hanging out in the ditches along the back road. The next day I brought my camera and stopped by after work. The ones with the pale pink on their body and no color on their faces are juveniles, probably born early this spring. They look so pretty and clean. I stayed for a few minutes and headed home. I didn’t want to freak out the black necked stilts that were close by.
“What have you got under there?” says the juvenile blue heron.
“Look up here.” says the spoonbill high up in the tree.
There were lots of spoonbills at Circle B Bar Reserve right before Christmas. They looked so pretty against the yellow flowers. Most of them were busy eating or preening but I did find the one sitting high up in the tree with some white ibis.