|Circle B Bar Reserve|
|Great Horned Owl, the first bird of the day.|
We gathered at 6:30 on a cool morning and carpooled to Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, about two and a half hours away. Sally Larson joined the usual Red Van Gang members, Jerry Pruitt took three more with him, and Alachua Audubon president Anne Casella rode with Celeste Shitama. I always appreciate those who step up and offer to drive and take others with them. It makes the logistics of a trip so much easier to manage.
Before we even reached the parking lot, we had our first great bird of the day. We saw a group of birders and photographers staring up into a tree and learned there was a Great Horned Owl nest up there. Not wanting to disturb the birds, we stayed only a minute. We saw no adults, but one of the babies was nice enough to peek out at us long enough for us to take a photograph.
|Roseate Spoonbill. I missed this one.|
First we searched around the education building. I had heard there was a Painted Bunting in the area, but we failed to find it. The park was busier that day than I have ever seen it, with the visitor-filled tram running constantly. Perhaps all of that activity scared the bird away.
We headed out toward the wetland area and walked the narrow path along the berm. There were birds everywhere we looked. Early on we saw Limpkin, Bald Eagle, and a nice mix of the usual waders. We watched an aerial display by a flock of Tree Swallows, and part of the group saw a Roseate Spoonbill that I missed. One of the group found a Purple Gallinule and a second one wandered into view as we watched the first.
The lack of ducks didn't dampen the day at all. We picked up a Purple Martin among the Tree Swallows. We watched a Forster's Tern diving for food and a Royal Tern posing like a model for our cameras. We watched a Gray Catbird dancing on the leaves at the edge of a culvert and a Green Heron with duckweed on his forehead and bill.
Eventually we got back to the crossroad where the Barred Owl had been reported. We had looked earlier, but didn't find it. This time we got lucky. Another birder was standing under one tree staring up. He pointed and said "Barred Owl." There it was, the 51st and last bird of the day, providing the closing bracket that had opened with a Great Horned Owl chick.
After leaving the Reserve we made our way to Palace Pizza on US 98 in the Publix shopping area. Eleven of us chowed down on a variety of pizza slices, salads, garlic knots and some raspberry cookies. I ate way too much and enjoyed every single bite. I enjoyed the conversation even more which continued during the drive home. I think we laughed and chatted for the entire 130 miles.
Like I said, I may not have a lot of great ideas, but our Third Thursday Retirees' birding group is definitely one of my better ones.
|Baby Alligator completely covered with duckweed.|
|Anhinga drying itself off after diving for its breakfast.|
|Royal Tern with an interesting hairdo.|
|Green Heron. I think this is one of our most beautiful birds.|
|Barred Owl, the last bird of the day.|