Flying across the trail

I walked out on the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-March and saw this. Lots of wading birds out in a small pond that had developed from the recent rain.

So many birds feeding in this one spot. Great egrets, snowy egrets, cattle egrets, great blue herons, wood storks, spoonbills and one large sandhill crane.

All of a sudden the sandhill crane took off across the marsh.

Glossy ibis were flying across the trail.

Spoonbills were flying in and out of the pond all morning. At one point one flew so close I couldn’t fit him all in and he was carrying a stick. He must have been heading for a nest.

Typical sight along the trail. A great blue heron in a dead snag.

Far out in the lake, a great egret sits alone.

My Corner of the World

January visit to the “Bar”

I was finally back out at Circle B Bar Reserve in late January. I hadn’t been since the middle of December. I missed the trails.

The “hot” bird to get at that time was the male northern harrier (or gray ghost as some people called him). I had gotten some extremely far away pictures in December (pin dots really) and was hoping to get a little closer this time. He still stayed far out in the marsh this trip as well but made a few quick passes closer to the trail. He’s cruising along the marsh looking for food (lizards, etc).

I could see a few hogs out in the marsh as well. I call them Oreos since they have the color pattern of Oreo cookies.

I’m not sure what this was. Some type of insect nest on the bushes?

The usual birds were there: woodstork, night heron, blue gray gnatcatcher, yellow rumped warbler and a pied grebe.

They were spraying some type of chemical to get rid of invasive plants. I hate seeing this. Especially here.

Cute squirrel in the parking lot when I got back to my car.

Critters close to home

I was coming home from the grocery store and saw this guy feeding in my neighborhood. I had my camera in the car so I had to make a quick stop and shoot this.

I’ve been keeping an eye out on the towers in the neighborhood and one day I saw this juvenile eagle sitting high up. Several of the towers have nests but I was thinking they were all osprey nests. One of the nests was an eagle’s nest. Maybe this guy was born in the neighborhood last year?

There’s a water reclamation facility close to home and every winter the pond is filled with wintering ducks. I finally stopped to check out what kind of ducks they were. This is a small section of the ducks that were in the pond. The majority of them were redhead ducks but there were a few lesser scaup mixed in. I think this pond has the highest number of wintering ducks in the area.

There were a few hooded mergansers staying away from the other ducks and kept close to the fence.

One morning I was heading to the Oldsmar fishing pier and I caught these guys right before the pier. “A spoonbill, a woodstork and a great egret walk into a bar…..”

I was heading to the fishing pier because I had seen an eagle sitting in the tree in the parking lot there back in October. I hadn’t seen him since until this day. He was cruising around the fishing pier before taking off over the houses nearby.

Low tide in late December

I headed down to Fort Desoto Park in late December hoping to see the huge flocks of white pelicans. No luck on North beach but I found a small flock of them way out sitting on a spoil island. The first shot is zoomed in and cropped up. Later I was walking on the beach and a lone one flew over my head.

I saw the above kingfisher flying around out in the North Beach marsh, diving for fish.

A few dunlins were feeding in the shallow end.

I love this time of year when it’s sunny and cool and the tide is really low. You can walk out forever before you get to ankle deep water.

Watching the ships go by from the fishing pier.

I stopped by Crescent Lake Park on the way home to look for otters and found a pair of white pelicans instead.

A few other birds at the lake were a wood stork and a lesser scaup with a snack in his beak. I think he had a crawfish.

SkyWatch Friday

Growing up fast

I headed back to the bird rookery in north Tampa in mid-May for a quick trip out of the house. I figured most of the baby birds were grown up and they were, including the big baby egrets above. They were still waiting for Mom to come home with dinner.

I don’t think Mom was ready to get back to the nest. She stopped close by and took a break.

There were still a lot of cattle egrets in breeding colors but I didn’t see any babies. They usually nest much farther into the bushes.

The anhinga on the right was keeping an eye on the wood stork, making sure he didn’t get too close.

A few of the other birds included a little blue heron, a young night heron and a tricolored heron.

The anhingas were farther back on the little island. Mom was feeding an almost grown baby in the shot above. That doesn’t look comfortable having the baby stick it’s head down her throat.

The baby muscovy ducks were almost grown as well. They saw me get out of my car and came swimming over. “Sorry guys, no handouts from me.”

My Corner of the World

Birds at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

It’s not often you can get this up close with an eagle. This one was missing part of his wing and was spending his time at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. I caught him taking a bath.

Pelicans were hanging out in their big open space. Some were starting to nest.

Other birds were just hanging out and preening when I was there in mid-November.

I caught these two wild night herons fighting over nesting space over the roof of an exhibit.

You can also get close to the spoonbills. And since the flamingos were right behind you, you wouldn’t have to look at them and think they were flamingos.

A walk around a lake

There were two white pelicans and one brown pelican floating in Crescent Lake near downtown St. Pete recently. The white ones were feeding close to the edge of the lake.

You can always find wood storks here.

Other usual critters include wintering ring billed ducks, lots of green herons, a cute mallard with a feather hat and plenty of turtles. One thing I’ve never seen here is alligators. I’m sure they are there under the water. I’ve only ever been early in the morning so they may be on the bank sunning themselves late in the afternoon.

This ring billed gull would have preferred a handout.

Circle B Bar Reserve in early January.

Eagle sightings along the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve.

Out in the marsh, a lone sandhill crane was among the wood storks. At first he was feeding but then he stopped and started calling across the marsh.

He then took off, flying right in front of me.

Along the trail.

Taken with my 300mm lens, this big guy was napping out in the water.

My Corner of the World

Different things at Gatorland

Many of the birds were still sitting on eggs at the bird rookery at Gatorland in Orlando in mid-May.

Some were still flirting.

Lots of different wild birds hanging out at the park including the great egret above that stole a hot dog from an alligator. You can feed the alligators here but half of the time the birds get the food quicker.

Pretty peacock.

The youngest baby birds at the rookery that morning. The baby snowy egrets were probably only a few days old.

The gators were getting frisky.

Seeing a baby gator up close.

This guy was taking a break before the crowds were on the boardwalk.

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