Prince Baskettail and the Royal Terns

March 21, 2019

Prince Baskettail and the Royal Terns sounded like a great name for a new rock band, I thought– or maybe just a blog.   It tickled me, at any rate, that one of the new dragonflies I found yesterday was called ‘Prince Baskettail’!  What an odd name for a dragonfly! Later, I found another bit of royalty called a Queen–a Queen Butterfly that is, followed by a Monarch…but not a single Viceroy. To round off my regal assortment of princes, queens and monarchs, I found a Royal Tern– who happened to be a bird, not a butterfly or a dragonfly! Oh well, he had the right title, so he fit right in!

Prince Baskettail Dragonfly
A Royal Tern

All of these wonders of nature were found at the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, Florida—a place I never would have known existed had it not been for a chance encounter at a different preserve where a woman stopped to comment on the size of my lens! I get this a lot, and it’s somewhat embarrassing, but the woman just wanted me to know that she had seen lots of people like me (with big lenses) at Circle B Ranch and asked if I had ever been there. I had not. But it sounded like I should.  So, Mel and I headed out the very next day cameras in hand.

Blue Dasher
Blue Faced Darner
Two layers off, one more to go as the day warmed up!

Once we arrived, however, I thought maybe I had made a big mistake. It was ‘cold’ and it was windy.  I had to start out the day with a sweater, a windbreaker and a jacket! Maybe a different day would have been better, I lamented. Not surprisingly, though, it got warmer as the day progressed and I eventually had all of my extra layers tied around my waist.

Circle B Bar Reserve is an area of protected land covering 1,267 acres and is named after the cattle ranch that once occupied the site. The preserve is home to an impressive array of birds such as white ibis,  roseate spoonbills, sandhill cranes, great blue herons, tricolored herons, whistling ducks, and bald eagles, as well as other wildlife like alligators, bobcats, snakes, gray squirrels, river otters and wild hogs.

Anhinga with a huge fish!
Anhinga with an even bigger fish!!

Circle B Ranch is a wonderland of birds, butterflies and dragonflies! Mel and I spent the better part of our day wandering the trails near Banana Creek Marsh taking an almost endless stream of pictures. There was so much to see and enjoy! At the end of our five hour picture marathon, we had taken well over a thousand shots! Oh my! It’s been really hard sorting through all of them trying to decide which ones to post and which ones to leave out. There were so many stories to tell!

Huge alligator across the marsh!

My favorite catch of the day, a Barred Owl!

What a great place to enjoy the out of doors! Five thumbs up for the Circle B Bar Reserve!

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