'scene' along the way, birds, Circle B Bar Reserve, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, go with the flow, Just do it, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Birds and more birds…

On Sunday I took 650 pictures at Circle B Bar Reserve, and had quite a lot of fun with my friends while we were hiking and discovering the wildlife along the trails.  We three were pretty much together the whole time, yet our phones recorded different amounts of steps for us.  Our taller friend’s phone recorded a lot fewer steps for her, but us two shorter gals numbers were quite similar.  It was the miles that were different.  At 6.5 I had the least, and I believe our taller friend’s phone was approaching 9 miles.  Whatever it was it was a long enough day for my feet to be objecting by the end.  With the recent rain I had opted to wear short rubber bootlets, which allowed me to feel every rock embedded in the trail, and I was regretting that choice by the end of the day.  As fun as it was we were quite ready to call it a day and go find some lunch. 1-6-20woodstorkflyover1-6-20tricolor1-6-20owlface1-6-20osprey1-6-20littlebirdfeature1-6-20Ibisdrip1-6-20GBHinthebreeze1-6-20eagles1-6-20butterfly1-6-20blackbird1-6-20Greategret.jpg

The eagles and the owl were what had the photographers gathered like paparrazi.  Even my bigger lens, which I had chosen not to carry, wouldn’t have gotten the sort of shots that I can get when I visit my usual eagle nest.  And my first ever owl photos were taken at Circle B and they were really nice shots.  This owl was up too high, in the shadows, and obscured by Spanish moss.  And facing backwards.  Nevertheless we three were so excited when we saw our shots in our computers and we saw that we had gotten the owl’s face.  Sort of…1-4-20FrankieatCircleB

The nature center at Circle B has plenty to educate and entertain people of all ages, as well as the occasional flamingo.

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Alligator Alley…

While fighting the very bright sun and very deep shadows can be frustrating, it can also make for some fun photos.  Take the B above, which is actually a weed, but it looked like neon in a spot of sunshine.

I didn’t venture onto Alligator Alley when I was in Circle B Bar reserve in the past.  I deliberately avoided it for fear of, well, being eaten by an alligator.  But on Sunday I was assured that the alligators don’t eat this time of year.  Their systems are in low gear,  and were they to eat any food it would rot in their gut.  So we walked the trail and hoped that all the alligators had gotten that memo.1-6-20CBBRtrail.jpg1-6-20Bettuonthetrail.jpg1-6-20egretonthetrail.jpg

You occasionally find yourself sharing the trail with the wildlife.  And, oh my, look what this one was doing…1-6-20egretw-snake.jpg1-6-20egretw-snake2.jpgEven as we took the pictures we lamented the people who had been walking toward us on the path were now in our pictures.  But it’s not like you can plan these things.1-5-20GBKwitheel.jpgAnd this Great Blue Heron with an eel was a surprise find also. 1-6-20GBHandgator.jpgWe all spent some time watching this alligator as it was cruising toward that heron.  We took lots of pictures as it just cruised on by.  And then it turned the tables on us…1-6-20ohohgator.jpg

Yup, looked like it was coming our way, but it continued his turn and headed back down the river.  Dodged another bullet.  And for a few months of the year Alligator Alley is closed for hiking because that’s the alligator mating season.  I guess they are looking out for those of us lucky enough to spend time in this park.1-6-20whichwaysup.jpg

'scene' along the way, adventure, Circle B Bar Reserve, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, making memories, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip, sunrise, Up and at 'em

Up close and personal…

My friends and I tried to get to Circle B Bar Reserve for the sunrise, but it was quite a long drive from home.  The above feature photo was as close as we got.  We wanted to be that early because our theory was that the wildlife is most active early in the morning.  Only it was pretty darned chilly, and that is something that will slow the wildlife down.  So we walked about 7 miles, went from a little too chilly to almost too warm, and yes we saw some wildlife.

I had hoped to see something unusual, something beyond all the usual birds that we see so frequently.  And this little raccoon filled the bill perfectly.1-5-20racoon11-5-20racoon21-5-20racoonsitupI was as close to the edge of the river bank as possible in order to get the angle I needed for the photos.  I was most afraid of dropping the camera into the water.  As I was shooting some other visitors came to us from the opposite direction and asked if I knew there was an alligator right there.  “Where?”, I asked.  “Right there!”. was the answer.1-5-20closegator


I did not expect to be so up close and personal with that gator.  If I had known he was there I would never have gotten the pictures.  There was a pier just a little way down the trail and I got a better picture of just how big that gator was.  And a good look at that smirk in his face.  This must be an example of all’s well that ends well.  And there are pictures to prove it!

'scene' along the way, birds, Circle B Bar Reserve, eagles, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

If only…

If only the distance you drove for photos could insure that the photos you took that day would be that much better than ‘normal’.  Alas, it doesn’t work that way.  I drove a long way to Circle B Bar Reserve yesterday, and found myself photographing birds that I see frequently, and much closer to home.  I chose not to hike down the trail marked Alligator Alley, that seemed like asking for more than I bargained for.  And still I found this gator, a little one, and I kept my composure and kept hiking.  Faster though, trying to catch up with two gals who were ahead of me on the trail.  Safety in numbers. 11-7CircleBscene111-7CircleBanhinga11-7CircleBegret11-7CircleBlunch11-7CircleBgreatblue11-7CircleBturtle11-7CircleBglossy11-7CircleBosprey

The very helpful clerk at the desk pointed out her favorite spot to see eagles, which were the birds that people were reported to be seeing lately.  So that’s where I headed, slightly disappointed that the Roseate Spoonbills weren’t in the area yet.  No owls either.  The eagle roost trail was very sunny and hot, and the only company I had was the gopher turtle.  I did take several pictures once I thought I might be seeing the eagle nest off in the distance.  It wasn’t until I got home and looked at the photos in the computer that I realized that I’d gotten a picture of an eagle, even if I didn’t ‘see’ it while I was there.11-7CircleBeagleI need to set my phone to count my steps.  I’ll bet I got 10,000 in yesterday.  Hot, sweaty steps…

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More from Circle B…

The area occupied by Circle B Bar Reserve was once a cattle farm.  It was purchased through an environmental lands acquisition referendum and the land is now home to many birds and other wildlife.  Once I had spotted the Roseate Spoonbills the bird that would have been at the top of my list to see after that would have been owls.  Except I saw these Barred owls before I saw the spoonbills.  Where to see them was pointed out to me as soon as I got there, and I knew that at least one of my wishes for the day had come true already. 1-7owl1 copy1-7owl2 copy1-7owl3 copy But in addition we have the Anhinga, one of which passed though my backyard today, stopping for a moment on the post usually occupied by the little blue heron… 1-7anhinga1 copy1-7anhinga2 copyThe Limpkin, which I’m told eats apple snails…1-7limpkin copyThe Red-sholdered Hawk, another of my backyard visitors …1-7hawk copy1-7hawk2 copyThe Green Heron, another new bird to me…1-7greenheron copyThe Great Egret, not an uncommon bird to see but always so pretty…1-7greategret copyAs you can see, it was a great day.  I’ll be heading back again, but I’ll be happy to go when it’s a little warmer than Saturday was.  It warmed up nicely though, but not until it was time for me to leave.