Circle B Bar Reserve

Anhinga With Dinner

Tony & I managed to get up to Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland two times over the past week and both times we have seen some great birds and made some wonderful images.  Today’s first image was taken in pouring rain about 10 minutes after we arrived on site.  I was focused on the anhinga just as the rain started to fall and decided to hang in there to see what kind of shot I could get in the rain using my flash and Better Beamer.  The anhinga was sitting there one second with no fish it’s mouth and then quickly vanished by slipping into the water.  About twenty seconds later it pops back on to it’s perch with this fish firmly skewered by it’s beak.  I couldn’t believe my good fortune and continued taking a series of flash photos as the anhinga patiently waited for the fish to stop squirming.  Once the fish had expired, the anhinga deftly flipped the fish around a few times before finally swallowing it head first in one big gulp. I was thrilled to be able to see the action in my view finder and even more thrilled to capture such a unique image in less than ideal conditions.  My Canon 1DX and 600mm lens are both weather sealed.  The flash I’m not too sure about but my gear stood the test and for that I am extremely grateful.  I do have a waterproof cover for the lens and camera but forgot to throw it in the Vue.  Lesson learned for the next time though and I will also be throwing in a few garbage bags just in case the skies open once more.

Anhinga Portrait

I spent about 15 minutes with this bird and managed to get a great close up portrait.  Note the bright blue colors around the eye and lore. The catch light in the eye is from my flash unit.  Tony & I continued down alligator trail looking for subjects to photograph and were pleased to see quite a few specimens as we walked.  Lots of great blue herons, limpkins, snowy egrets, great egrets, roseate spoonbills, and even a raccoon popped out on to the path ahead of us.

Great blue heron taking a break after fishing for his dinner.Great Blue Heron

We visited Circle B Bar Reserve on Saturday (in the rain) and again on Monday mornings.  It sprinkled a bit on Monday as well but for the most part the day was far drier than on Saturday.  I am enjoying shooting in manual mode instead of AV mode and am nailing the correct exposure quite quickly now.  On Monday, I also switched on the high speed sync feature of my Canon EX-Rt electronic flash to see if I could get higher than 1/250 second sync speed.  High speed worked like a charm and I was routinely shooting at speeds up to 1/2000 sec.  I was concerned the batteries wouldn’t last the entire morning but there was plenty of life left in the 4 AA Eneloop batteries, so I never had to change batteries at all.  We arrive both days at 7 am and shot pretty well straight through until 11 am.  I’ll post some more images in the coming days.

Osprey landing on tree top with wings spread wide.Osprey On Tree Top

On the home front, Chris is still in Nova Scotia with her father following the recent passing of her mother.  Hopefully she will be back in Sebring by the middle of February.  Teddy and I are faring quite well and I even managed to give him a trim with the help of our neighbour, Jo.  He no longer looks like a hairy beast any more.