The Illuminating Lens

Circle B Bar Reserve – Revisited – Lakeland, Florida

One of the rules of travel/landscape/bird/nature photography is go back more than once.  Go back for different lighting, seasons, weather, just go back!  Circle B Bar Reserve is one of those places that I go back to, over and over.  As the seasons change, the species of birds change, so you never know from one visit to the next what you will see.

Details about Circle B From Wikipedia:

The Circle B Bar Reserve is an area of protected lands in Polk County, Florida. Comprising 1,267 acres (5.13 km2) at 4399 Winter Lake Road (SR 540) near Lakeland, Florida, the area is managed by the Polk County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). It is jointly owned by the BOCC and the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The park was purchased in 2000 for $7.4 million using funds provided by an environmental lands acquisition referendum approved by voters in 1994.

Polk’s Nature Discovery Center, completed in 2008, features interactive displays about the plants, animals, and ecosystems of the reserve. The center serves as the focus of environmental education programs and explorations for families, school groups, teachers, adults, and other visitors. Construction began in 2007, consisting of four buildings totaling 16,000 square feet at a cost of $6.4 million.

Circle B Bar Reserve is named after the cattle ranch that once occupied the site. It was purchased to help maintain the Banana Creek marsh area. The preserve is home to an impressive array of birds such as white ibis, roseate spoonbills, sandhill cranes, and bald eagles along with other wildlife like alligators, bobcats, snakes, gray squirrels, river otters, and wild hogs. It underwent a wetland restoration effort.

The preserve has been designated as a Great Florida Birding Trail site, a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Sites are selected for their excellent birdwatching, wildlife viewing, or educational opportunities. Circle B Bar contains 3.5 miles (5.6 km)s of unpaved hiking/biking trails and is connected to the paved Fort Fraser Trail by the 0.6-mile paved Fort Fraser-Circle Bar B Connector Trail, which runs from Lakeland to Bartow.

Bald Eagle with nesting materials

The many trails and paths through the reserve give plenty of opportunities to see and photograph birds, other animals and landscapes.   You easily walk 5 miles in a morning, if you want to!

Cypress Tree with Great Blue Heron Nest

There are nesting Eagles, Ospreys, Great Blue Herons, Barred Owls, Great Horned Owls and Sandhill Cranes.

Great Blue Heron on Nest


Barred Owl

There are many small songbirds that live here and some are just passing through on their way south or north depending on the season.

Savannah Sparrow


Blue Grey Gnatcatcher

The raptors are a big attraction at Circle B as they are active and usually plentiful.

Bald Eagle


Osprey with Fish


Red Shoulder Hawk

There are a few colorful species that you can find here as well!

Purple Gallinule


Roseate Spoonbill


Northern Cardinal


Common Moorhen

Then there are other non-bird species to see as well!

American Alligator babies


Spider Web


Gulf Fritillary



Circle B Bar Reserve is a great place to experience the real Florida, get some exercise and fresh air, just minutes from Tampa and Orlando in Lakeland, Florida!

Please visit my gallery for these and more images from Circle B!

That is all for now!


Lynn Wiezycki

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