Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Circle B Bar Reserve - Florida

In January 2018 I visited the Circle B Bar Reserve near the city of Lakeland, Florida, near the edge of Lake Hancock. I visited early in the morning for about 3 hours, then traveled to St. Petersburg to visit the Dali Museum, and liked Circle B Bar Reserve so much that I went back for several hours in the afternoon. 
It is a protected area of 1,267 acres in Polk County jointly owned by the Polk County Board of County Commissioners and the Southwest Florida Water Management District and purchased to maintain the Banana Creek Marsh area. 

It is named after a cattle ranch which was previously on the site and has subsequently been restored as a wetland. It has 3.5 miles of unpaved hiking and biking trails and is an amazing place to view wildlife. 
I particularly liked this path, a dike between two marshes, covered with mossy trees. 
On the day I visited the trails over to Lake Hancock were closed (I think they may have been closed down because of hurricane damage) and so I concentrated my visit along Heron Hideout, Wading Bird Way and Marsh Rabbit Run. I also walked Eagle Roost but did not see anything of consequence. The area I concentrated my time in had so much in it that you could spend hours just walking that area. It is one of the best nature areas I've ever been in. One of the nice things about it is that you can get quite close to most of the wildlife. For example, the Orlando Wetlands Park also has a wide variety of wildlife, but most of it is very far away. 
Circle B Bar Reserve in Florida ~ SamH Travels
It had areas of large open water, but the best spots were along the Banana Creek Marsh. 

It not only had a great variety of birds, but I saw alligators, two types of turtle, wild pigs, an armadillo and a gray squirrel. 
This tree is full of cormorants. 
I saw several sandhill cranes. This is the only place I've ever seen them. They are spectacularly beautiful. 
The lake supports a large supply of bony fish. This great blue heron was maneuvering one down its throat. 
This green heron is on a small log in a green algae covered pond. 
This great egret, near the edge of a large body of water, is in breeding plumage (note the green around its eye and to its bill). 
A tri-colored heron. 
A wood stork. 
The beautiful green back-wing feathers of the wood stork in flight. 
The best view I've ever had of a cardinal. 
Black vultures were feeding on dead fish along the banks of the open water. I also saw a couple of turkey vultures, but did not get good photos of them. 
A female boat-winged grackle. 
I saw quite a few limpkins, a bird I'd never seen before. I had one land right in front of me and drop a large snail and proceed to smash the shell and eat the snail. 
A white ibis.
A roseate spoonbill.
Common gallinule.
Eastern gray squirrel
American crow
The only time I've ever seen black-bellied whistling ducks. 
Blue winged teals (male and female).
Muscovy duck
Florida red-bellied cooter
Peninsula cooter
American alligator
Armadillo (in the parking lot)
A wild pig and its piglets. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, animal lover's paradise, especially for bird lovers! I'd love to see an armadillo in a parking lot.