Monday, December 19, 2011

Circle B Bar Reserve

Visited Circle B on Sunday morning.  Activity is starting to pick up with many wood storks, one group of white pelicans,  many black-bellied whistling ducks, and more white ibis than you could count.  A real treat was four roseate spoonbills.

Found this to be an odd mix of "tree mates".  Spoonbill, stork, ibis and a crow..

After many attempts to catch the whistlers in flight, finally got this one.

Also captured these pelicans in flight.

If you are here in central Florida you should plan a trip to Circle B Bar Reserve .

Thanks for visiting my blog,  David

Lake Morton, Lakeland, FL

Visited Lake Morton early Friday morning to see what new might have arrived this week.  There were still at least a few hundred white pelicans on the lake as well as white ibis, wood storks and the swans that live there permanently.  For those of you not familiar with Lake Morton, it is located near the heart of Lakeland, FL.  The Lake Morton Historic District of homes consists mainly of homes built between 1918 and 1927.  What better way to spend a morning; a cup of Starbucks coffee, my Canon camera and a lake covered with birds.  (Remember to "click" on an image to enlarge)

The main show was the many white pelicans making a stop over on the lake.

You can usually find a few mallards on the lake year round.  This fellow was close by so could not resist getting a photo.

In addition to the pelicans, numerous wood storks are hanging out around the lake.  I caught this fellow yawning as he tried to get going for the day.

My pic of the day is this ring-necked duck.  Several pair were swimming near our position on the lake.

For you Yellowstone lovers check out this link for a wonderful wolf photo captured last week by Steve Hinch,  To follow Steve he is now on Facebook at Steve Hinch Photography.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  David 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Circle B Bar Reserve

We made our normal Sunday morning trip to Circle B this weekend.  As we arrived a pair of eagles landed near the parking area.  We quickly set up and got a few shots before they flew off.  The lighting was poor and in the rush did not get everything set properly so not as sharp as I would like but there is no more majestic bird than the American Bald Eagle.

We then walked along Rabbit Run trail to Wading Bird Way.  Along the way we spotted this Great Blue Heron  surrounded by BurrMerrigold flowers.  Remember to "click" on picture to enlarge.

On the way to Wading Bird Way we were told to be sure to look for the Wigeons.  We spotted them but they were on the east side of the path and some distance from shore, meaning we would be shooting into the sun.  I tried to get the best angle I could but still heavily back lit.

On the west side of the trail I spotted this pair of Northern Shovelers, another first for me.  This was my pick for picture of the day.

Another fun trip to Circle B Bar Reserve.   Thanks for following my blog.  David

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lake Morton, Lakeland Florida

This past week I had noticed a number of white pelicans on Lake Morton which is one of our downtown lakes here in Lakeland.  This morning I was there at sunrise armed with camera and Starbucks.  It was mostly foggy but managed to get a few good photos.  I'll try again soon to get some in-flight pictures when it is not so foggy.  Did you know Lakeland has 38 named lakes within the city.

Thanks for looking, David

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Circle B Bar Reserve, Polk County Florida

We visited Circle B on Friday after work.  I seldom get out there in the late afternoon so it was a nice change.  There was almost no one on the trails, but there was also almost no wildlife activity.  On the way out to the main trail we did find a family of three Sand Hill Cranes feeding.  Here is one of them with BurrMerrigolds blooming in the background.

We then proceed along Alligator Alley to Lake Hancock.  As we approached the lake we could hear an owl in the distance.  We walked along the lakeside trail until we found this Barred Owl well hidden in the tree canopy.   (Remember to "click" on the picture to enlarge)

Equipment:  Canon 7D DSLR,  Canon 500mm f4.0 lens, Canon Speedlite 580EXII, Better Beamer Flash Extender, and Gitzo Tripod with Wimberley head.

Thanks for visiting, David

Monday, November 28, 2011

Circle B Bar Reserve

I recently visited Circle B Reserve.  Activity is beginning to pick up but we still are not seeing the numbers of pelicans, storks and ducks that will likely arrive in December.  We did spot this pair of Red-Headed Ducks along Wading Bird Way.  I understand they have been around for two weeks. (remember to click on the image for a larger view)

There are quite a few Blue-Winged Teal Ducks hanging out at Wading Bird Way.

And last a Glossy Ibis.

Thanks for looking.  As activity picks up I will be posting more often.  For you Yellowstone fans I have submitted my application to work the summer season of 2012.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Circle Bar B Reserve

I visited Circle B again today but again found very little activity.  I still enjoyed the early morning walk.  I spoke with several people who thought it will be another month before we see the white pelicans and wood storks return in any large numbers.  I did enjoy watching a pair of bald eagles fly back and forth across the marsh, too far for photos.  I did manage to get a few photos as seen below.

This blue heron was perched high in a cypress tree looking out over Lake Hancock, maybe looking for a next meal.  (remember to "click" on the image to enlarge)

Nothing special about this limpkin, I just think they are neat birds.

I liked the reflection of this tri-colored heron.

Thanks, David

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


We've been traveling for a few weeks so haven't taken many pictures but this morning could not resist trying to capture these hummingbirds feeding in the garden.  These were taken with Canon 7D, Canon 100-400mm lens, and Canon flash with Better-Beamer.

We'll return to Florida tomorrow and hope to visit the Circle Bar B Reserve over the weekend.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Circle Bar B Reserve, Lakeland, FL

I've been back in Florida for a few weeks and had not touched the camera so visited Circle Bar B Reserve this week to see what was happening.   When we first arrived we saw four eagles circling over the marsh.  There is a lot of tall plant growth in the marsh which blocks some of the normal viewing areas.  Along Marsh Rabbit Run we found this Limpkin on a low tree limb by the trail.  He was close and I was carrying the 500mm lens so this was the result.  (did I say how much I like this lens...)

We saw several photographers along Wading Bird Way so wondered out to them to see what was happening.  There were two baby Limpkins in the underbrush along the shore.  I was surprised they would be hatching this time of the year but with our never ending summer anything can happen.

The Black Bellied Whistling Ducks are starting to return.  We saw several flocks circling over the marsh. 

It was a good visit but got warm quickly.  With Fall arriving this week maybe it will start to cool off.  For you that are in the Lakeland area a new park recently opened on the other side of Lake Hunter from the Circle B.  It is the Marshall Hampton Reserve on Thornhill Rd.  I'll be visiting there soon and will report back what I find. 

A quick note on Yellowstone.  The Lake Hotel (where I worked) will close for the season on Sunday.  I wish all my co-workers and friends a safe return home or to your next work assignment.  I look forward to joining many of you next summer at the "Lake". 


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yellowstone Elk

Elk (Cervus elaphus) are the most abundant large mammal found in Yellowstone.  More than 30,000 elk from 7-8 different herds summer in Yellowstone and approximately 15,000 to 22,000 winter in the park.

While driving around the park on Saturday I thought I might find Elk along the Madison River on the west entrance to the park.  Sometime in September and early October is the Elk breeding season or "rut season".   I hoped to maybe find a large bull beginning to gather his harem but only found a small group of cows with their teenagers from this years birth.  Here is a mother  still keeping a watch on her growing youngster.

These two youngsters were playing in the river's edge.

This youngster was keeping a watchful eye on the photographers along the shore of the river.

This will be my last blog post from Yellowstone.  I'll likely post a few more topics in the coming weeks from my summer here and then will switch back to Florida wildlife, primarily birds which will begin their southward migration soon. 

To my friends from Yellowstone, a big Thank You for making this a special summer and I hope to see you again. 

To my family, Thank You for allowing me the time to live my dreams and for taking care of things while I'm away.

Thanks to everyone for following my Yellowstone adventure.    David

Monday, August 29, 2011

Yellowstone Pronghorn (Antelope)

On Saturday I traveled through most of the park remembering the many photo opportunities presented to me this summer.  As I traveled through the Lamar Valley I spotted a small family of Pronghorn not far from the road.  The Pronghorn is the fastest north American land animal capable of speeds of 60 mph.  It is estimated there are less than 1,000 Pronghorn in the Yellowstone ecosystem today.

This nice Pronghorn buck appeared to be the leader of the family.  He was usually on the outside of the family grouping keeping a watchful eye.  Bucks will have horns up to 25 cm long and females will have smaller or no horns.

These two young Pronghorn are sparring in practice for when they are grown and begin fighting for territory and dominance over a group of females.

I have one more post planned with pictures of a small family of Elk.   I will be leaving the park on Thursday making my way back to Florida.

Thanks for following my Yellowstone adventure.   David

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Teton National Park

It was my last weekend in the park so on Friday I returned to the Tetons to see if I could finally find a moose, hopefully the big bull moose near Moose Junction that I'd heard so much about.  On the way down I saw a Red Tailed Hawk sitting on a fence post so stopped and got this picture.

I didn't find the bull but did find this nice looking cow in a small pond on Moose Wilson Rd.  The angle and the light weren't the best but I got the following pictures.

Today I spent my last day off driving through the park looking for any photo opportunities.  I watched a family of Pronghorn play for almost an hour and later in the day saw several young Elk playing in the Madison River.  I'll post one last blog from Yellowstone with the Elk and Pronghorn in the next few days.

As always, thanks for following my Yellowstone adventure.   David

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Yellowstone Bison

Approximately 3,000 to 4,000 bison live in Yellowstone.  Yellowstone is the only place in the US where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times.  In the early 1800's bison were almost hunted to extinction by European-American settlers.  Yellowstone was the only place in the states where wild, free-ranging bison persisted into the 20th century.  Even though protected, Yellowstone’s bison were reduced by poaching to approximately two dozen animals in 1902. From that small herd has grown the two large herds now occupying Yellowstone National Park. Many people consider the protection and recovery of bison in Yellowstone to be one of the great triumphs of American conservation.

The rut (breeding season) begins in late July and goes through August. Bulls display their dominance by bellowing, wallowing, and fighting other bulls. Once a bull has found a female who is close to estrus, he will stay by her side until she is ready to mate. Then he moves on to another female.

The two bulls pictured here have picked their mating partner and are bellowing possibly to alert other bulls of their selection.

Only two more weeks before returning home to Florida.  I hope to have a few more blog posts before leaving.   This weekend I will travel to Teton Nat'l Park in search of that big bull moose that has eluded me thus far. 

As always, thanks for following my Yellowstone adventure.   David

Friday, August 12, 2011

Osprey in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Back in July I posted a few pictures of an Osprey nest perched on a rock pinnacle in the canyon below the lower falls on the Yellowstone River.  I visited again this week and the three chicks are ready to fly.  I expect they will make their maiden voyage this week.  I watched as they were on the edge of the nest exercising their wings expecting one to take the leap any moment. 

Remember you can "click" on a picture to see a larger image.

Only a few more weeks before returning to Florida.  Evening temperatures are getting lower and I found frost on the car this morning. 

Thanks for following my Yellowstone adventure.  David

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Glacier National Park Lakes and Waterfalls

While in Glacier I did several short hikes of 3 to 6 miles.  Late one afternoon I hiked to Avalanche Lake.  This is a 4 to 5 mile round trip hike which gains 500 feet on the way in.  It is a beautiful lake with at least 5 waterfalls cascading down the opposite mountain side.

This is the view from the overlook viewing Hidden Lake.  This is normally an easy 1.5 mile hike from the Logan Pass Visitor Center but some of the heavy snow fall from last winter remains on the slopes and trail.  About 90% of the hike was on snow.  Hidden Lake is one of the most visited places away from the road in the park.  As you can see there is still ice/snow on portions of the lake.  Remember this was on August 7th.

This is Wild Goose Island in Lake St. Mary on the east side of the park.  This was photographed from the Going to the Sun Highway.  This was mid day so the sun is harsh on the mountains.  Next time I'll be there at sunrise.   The water really is that blue.

One final picture of St Mary Falls.  This is a short easy hike and can be extended out to Virginia Falls.  In this picture I experimented with extending the exposure time to give the water a look of motion.  It's not quite the look I wanted but will keep working on it.

With only two days in Glacier I just touched the surface so I guess I'll have to return some day.  Next time I'd like to also visit Waterton Lakes National Park on the Canadian side.

Thanks for following my Yellowstone (and Glacier) adventures. 

Glacier National Park Mountain Goats

I just returned from a long weekend in Glacier National Park.  Glacier is truely a park for hikers with over 700 miles of trails.  Only one road (Going to the Sun Highway) travels through the park for 50 miles.  It starts on the west side at Lake MacDonald at an elevation of 3150 ft and travels upward to Logan Pass at 6646 ft before dropping back down to St Mary Lake on the park's east side.   One of my goals was to photograph the park's iconic mountain goats which can usually be found along the trail to Hidden Lake from the Logan Pass Visitor Center.  It was about a 2 mile hike over snow to the Hidden Lake overlook and as I reached the top I found this mountain goat waiting for me.

Although in this picture he is partially shaded I liked the compositon of the tree and the snowy background.

These are of course in their "summer" coat.  During the winter months their coat can be eight inches thick. 

I'll be posting more mountain goat pictures at by PBase website.  I'll also be posting a second blog on Glacier Nat'l Park on the hikes that I did.  Remember you can "click" on the picture to enlarge.

 I only have three more weeks working in Yellowstone before returning home to Florida. 

Thanks for following my Yellowstone adventures.