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My Photography at The Circle B Bar Reserve

Updated on April 11, 2018

Do You Like Wildlife Photography?

If you love (or even like) wildlife or nature photography I believe that you will find this hub to be entertaining and hopefully informative. The best place in central Florida that I have so far found for nature and or wildlife photography is the Circle B Bar Reserve. The entrance to this photographer's paradise is located at 4399 Winter Lake Rd, Lakeland, FL 33803. It is about 1,267 acres or nearly two square miles of prime wildlife photography opportunities on and near Lake Hancock. In the spring and summer the wildlife is not as abundant as it is in the fall and winter because many of the migratory birds have gone back north for their breeding and nesting seasons. Even in summer you still have a plethora of animals and plants that are native to Florida. The more commonly seen animals are Alligators, Squirrels, Armadillos, Great Blue Herons, Osprey's and American Bald Eagles to name just a few.

I have been visiting and photographing at the Circle B Bar Reserve for several years now and have never actually been disappointed by the photographic opportunities on each trip. I think that my most disappointing day there was a rainy, drizzly mid-winter day that provided only about 100 opportunities to photograph some type of bird or animal.

Wildlife Photographs That I Created at the Circle B Bar Reserve

This is the entrance point into a magical realm of photographic possibilities. In my opinion it is unmatched in central Florida for the creation of wildlife photographs. ©  2015 By Chris Mercer
This is the entrance point into a magical realm of photographic possibilities. In my opinion it is unmatched in central Florida for the creation of wildlife photographs. © 2015 By Chris Mercer | Source
This is a close-up wildlife photograph of a Great Blue Heron's head that I created at the Circle B Bar Reserve.©  2018 By Chris Mercer
This is a close-up wildlife photograph of a Great Blue Heron's head that I created at the Circle B Bar Reserve.© 2018 By Chris Mercer | Source
This is photo of mostly Great Egrets feeding in the Marsh next to the Heron Hideout Trail at the Circle Bar Reserve. ©  2018 By Chris Mercer
This is photo of mostly Great Egrets feeding in the Marsh next to the Heron Hideout Trail at the Circle Bar Reserve. © 2018 By Chris Mercer | Source
I shot this wildlife image of a wild Boar shoat walking alongside the Wading Bird Way trail at the Circle B Bar Reserve. ©  2018 By Chris Mercer
I shot this wildlife image of a wild Boar shoat walking alongside the Wading Bird Way trail at the Circle B Bar Reserve. © 2018 By Chris Mercer | Source

A Brief History of the Circle B Bar Reserve

In 1949 Al and Betty Bellotto bought a large section of land on the shores of Lake Hancock which they turned in to a Citrus and Cattle operation. What is now known As the Circle B Bar Reserve was originally founded as the Cattle B Bar Ranch. In order to create pastureland they changed the course of the Banana Creek marsh system. Over the next few decades the Bellotto's expanded their citrus and cattle industries to more than twelve hundred acres.

In 1994 the Polk County Environmental Lands Program was initiated and funded. With the assistance of the Southwest Florida Management District, in 2000 the land was purchased as a key to the enhancement and protection of the Upper Peace River Watershed. By 2006 most of the initial restoration projects were completed and the original watershed was nearly restored to original. The area is administered by Polk county, Florida to enhance the outdoor recreational opportunities as well ensure that the environment is maintained.

As a result of this marsh system restoration project, the Circle B Bar Reserve is home to many native Floridian species of birds year round and in the winter season a great home to many migratory species of birds. The marsh restoration has also been of great benefit to other non-avian species of plants and animals. It is an ecologically diverse habitat for many species of plants and animals in central Florida.

The result of the Banana Creek restoration has been to enhance or create the Oak hammock, freshwater marsh, hardwood swamp and the lakeshore features of the area.

Wildlife Photos From the Circle B Bar Reserve

This Wildlife picture of a Black Crowned Night Heron was taken on the Wading Bird Way Trail during early the early evening hours.  ©  2018 By Chris Mercer
This Wildlife picture of a Black Crowned Night Heron was taken on the Wading Bird Way Trail during early the early evening hours. © 2018 By Chris Mercer | Source
This Sandhill Crane chick was photographed in late March of 2018 near the intersection of the Heron Hideout Trail and the Marsh Rabbit Run Trail.  ©  2018 By Chris Mercer
This Sandhill Crane chick was photographed in late March of 2018 near the intersection of the Heron Hideout Trail and the Marsh Rabbit Run Trail. © 2018 By Chris Mercer | Source
This Limpkin chick was photographed on April 7, 2018 near the intersection of Marsh Rabbit Run Trail and the Wading Bird Way Trails.  ©  2018 By Chris Mercer
This Limpkin chick was photographed on April 7, 2018 near the intersection of Marsh Rabbit Run Trail and the Wading Bird Way Trails. © 2018 By Chris Mercer | Source

My Hope is That These Wildlife Photographs Illustrate the Diversity

I sincerely hope that these wildlife photographs give you a feel for the awesome natural beauty to be found at the Circle B bar Reserve.

© 2018 Chris Mercer

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    • Deborah Minter profile image

      Deborah Minter 

      3 months ago from U.S, California

      Nice photographs!

    working

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