Snacking and nesting at Circle B Bar Reserve

Sandhill cranes were just starting to nest out in the marsh.

A new meaning to the term “Big Gulp”.

A wood stork trying not to drop the little fish.

Everyone was snacking including the limpkins.

It’s weird to see vultures flirting.

A cormorant flies by.

Lost of activity at Circle B Bar Reserve in mid March.

SkyWatch Friday

They get no respect

There was a small fish kill on the lake due to the freeze we had for several nights in January. Even thought it got just below freezing here, the fish aren’t use to the cold and there was a small amount of fish floating near the trail per the last picture. The clean up crew (vultures) at Circle B Bar Reserve moved in quickly and were dragging the dead fish up on the trail and feasting away the weekend I was there. They didn’t even bother to move as we walked down the trail.  Just kept eating.

The trees were full of fat and happy vultures.

Several alligators were up on the trail. The vultures didn’t move away when the alligators came up.

This was Momma pig right before she had her babies when she was hanging around the nature center. She walked by so close I could only get her face in. She has since had a litter. More on that to come.

The barred owls were still hiding under the palm tree in mid January. They have since moved to the nest in the hole in the tree.

Vultures are usually plentiful at Circle B Bar Reserve but in mid January the place was covered in them.  They were in the trees all along Marsh Rabbit Run Trail and along the trail feasting on the dead fish. The smell was a little ripe in some places but they were busy cleaning up the place. I went back several weeks later and there was no sign of any dead fish.

More people than birds.

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A common yellowthroat hiding in the bushes.

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A Carolina wren singing away in the morning.

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A bittern hiding in the swamp. Shout out to Peter and Capt. Jake for finding this guy. Don, where were you?  You missed out on this one.

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A black vulture and a turkey vulture hanging out together.

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One of the many “Osprey” trees along Alligator Alley trail.

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The baby great blue heron is almost grown up.

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The parent was still watching over him.

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The baby was still getting excited when the parents came to visit.  He was still getting fed by them.

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I’m starting to see dragonflies everywhere.

A quick visit to Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-March. I think there were more people than birds on the trails. It’s that time of the year when big groups of bird watchers descend on the park. They move a lot slower and I’m sure they see a lot more birds than I do. Most of the time they are seeing they with binoculars or scopes so I usually can’t get a shot of what they are looking at. I usually try to keep moving. It all started with getting exercise so I try to get in a good long walk on the weekends.Seeing the wildlife is a bonus.

Skywatch Friday

Big birds high up in trees.

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Synchronized preening vultures.

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One of the parents from very far away. Last year this nest lost both babies. I never heard what had happened.  I have heard there are two again this year.

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Looks like a couple to me. I think the one on the left is a female. I’ve read they have a brown fleck necklace around the chest.

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First time I’ve seen a kestrel at this park.

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Woodpecker inside a palm tree.

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Cutest critters at the park.

I had not been to Honeymoon Island in a long time. I went to see all of the usuals but it was still too early to be able to see babies yet. If they were there, they were still to small to see from the nest. I found the owl nest but the parent had been sleeping on the nest all morning. I heard here were eagle babies but they were still too small to see from as far away as we could get (over 500 feet is roped off at this park from the trail).  No osprey babies yet as well. This was the end of January so another trip in early March is in the plan. After several days of rain, it was nice to get out and walk in the sun.

Skywatch Friday

What the gators think.

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“Do I look like I’m going anywhere?”

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“It’s time to do our chin ups.”

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“Got a toothbrush lady?”

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“I’m just a lump on a log.”

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“I’m so tired of eating vultures. Where’s the nearest McDonalds?”

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“It’s time for a piggy back ride.”

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“Ha, Ha, did you hear that joke Bubba just told?”

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“I’m not dead yet.” said the turtle.

The water was really low at the alligator lake at Gatorland when I stopped by in mid-May. It was weird seeing the alligators laying out in the open like that. You realize how big they are when they are not half way in the water. They were all pretty lazy the day I was there. I guess if I lived outside in the heat all of the time I would sleep in the water all day as well.

Linking up to Saturday’s Critters

Lots of beauties, cuties and beasts – Skywatch Friday

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These flowers are popping up at all of the parks. It’s always a sign of summer around here.

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I haven’t seen a ladybug in a long time.

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A tiny gator taking a break.

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Vultures were eating a big turtle close to the trail. Since they only eat dead animals, something must have happened to the turtle. It might have been sick.

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Face to face with a small gator. I was not close. This is extremely cropped.

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Turtles are everywhere.

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We found a big gator family. I think we counted 13 babies. There may have been more. They must have been very young. They were tiny and were climbing all over each other.

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Mom was close by, right up against the trail.

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Another pile close by.

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A little bit older but still young. A few weeks after taking these, the preserve closed down Marsh Rabbit Run trail due to the gator mating activity. They can be very aggressive and will come up on the trail more often during mating season. With all of those new babies, the moms are going to be very aggressive protecting them. One or both of the main trails usually close each summer. This year was early. It should open back up around September once all of those hormonal gators calm down and go back to sleeping all day.

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The cormorant tree. Some days it’s a snowy egret tree. Or an ibis tree. It changes every trip.

Another cloudy morning. It went back and forth looking like it was going to pour and then the sun would peak out for a few minutes. A least it was still cool in late March. I think all of the alligators got the memo to show up this morning. The trails were full of them. Most of the big ones were way down in the marsh.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday