Viera Wetlands Surprises Again

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Viera Wetlands, or actually since I’ve done any bird photography at all – so yesterday (8/28/10) I visited with the Photography Interest Group to see what’s going on.

Our hopes weren’t too high, since the nesting season is past and the migratory birds probably don’t arrive until next month. Our visit was mainly to scout a couple new areas nearby. We’ve had quit a bit of rain lately and when we got there right after sunrise, we expected to have to walk the dirt roads (they usually close the roads after heavy rains). Our first surprise was that the roads were in good shape and open – so we were able to drive through.

We noticed right away that the place is full of Black Bellied Whistling Ducks. Not only that, but (second surprise) there are also some whistling ducklings around. I would never have guessed that the young of this species would look so much different from the adults. Their coloring does seem to be very effective camouflage in the marsh.

Whistling Duck Family

Whistling Duck family

We also saw another species (third surprise) where the juveniles look completely different from the adults. This young bird seemed to be out on it’s own, hunting in the vegetation near shore.

Juvenile Black Crowned Night HeronImmature Black Crowned Night Heron

There were also many of the regular species we usually see there, including mottled ducks, several osprey’s hunting, and (fourth surprise) my first sighting of a river otter at Viera.

River OtterRiver Otter

We spent about two hours in the main Viera Wetlands area and then went in search of the two new places. The first one we visited was the “Click Ponds”. This is an area to the right of the treatment plant entrance. We saw little activity other than some Anhiga and Cormorants sunning themselves. The water looks to be much deeper here and we guessed that’s the reason it isn’t as attractive to the birds.

We then went a little further west to check out the Moccasin Island parking area. Once again there was very little going on, although I did make a photograph of a Sand Hill Crane. By this time it was getting hot and we were hungry so we left and headed out to Cracker Barrel for a late breakfast / early lunch.

If you journey to to Viera, will your trip be as surprising as ours was yesterday? It’s hard to say – it depends on you and the Wetlands. But I can say that if you don’t go, you won’t know. Visit and tell us how it turns out.

You can see other photos I’ve made here in my Viera Wetlands set on Flickr.

©2010, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

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