Tag Archives: Green Heron

Merritt Island – May 31, 2014

I made a quick trip to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge last weekend with Kevin M. and Lutfi S.   We stopped first at the Titusville marina for a sunrise photo.  The sky was so-so, but the calm wind gave us very nice reflections in the water

Morning at the marina
Morning at the marina

Next, along Gator Creek Road we found a group of preening Roseate Spoonbills.  I liked the contrast between their pink and the blue sky reflected in the water.

Preening Spoonbills
Preening Spoonbills

Later at the Visitor Center, we found a great many butterflies.  They seem to like these Buttonbrush plants.

Gulf Fritillary
Gulf Fritillary

And Green Herons were common too, especially at the rest area on Black Point Wildlife Drive where we saw several nests and juveniles.  This one (also at the Visitors Center) drew my eye as it posed against the silver-like water while it waited to strike an unwary fish.

Green Heron in a silver pond
Green Heron in a silver pond

With the hot weather starting to arrive, there’s not as much activity at Merritt Island as there sometimes is. But there’s still a lot to see and photograph.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now, go make some photos!

©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Viera Wetlands – February 19, 2013

Most people just call the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands near Viera, Florida “Viera Wetlands”, although I’m sure they mean no disrespect to Mr. Grissom.  I hadn’t been there in a while, and since it’s one of my favorite places I took a trip down to check on things last week – it didn’t disappoint.

On the way, I stopped by Kelly Park in Merritt Island for sunrise.  I’m not sure if this Great Blue Heron was really getting ready to fish, or just enjoying the beautiful, pre-sunrise light, but I was glad it waded into my photo.

The early birds get the fish
The early birds get the fish – Looking east over the Banana River from Kelly Park in Cocoa, just before dawn.

At Viera Wetlands, I got to watch this otter’s antics as it enjoyed a dirt bath in the road:

River Otter dust bath
River Otter dust bath – I watched it rolling around in the dirt on the road for a while. When it had enough, it stood up, shook itself off, and moved back into the water.

I also watched this scene and although I felt badly for the frog, I guess I should feel good for the bird:

This doesn't end well for the frog.
Hooded Merganser catches frog at Viera Wetlands – This doesn’t end well for the frog.

I don’t see Green Herons as often as some of the other herons and egrets, so it was nice to watch a number of them in the reeds along the sides of the berms.  This pose is typical of one of their hunting techniques.  They’ll perch frozen on the water’s edge and wait for prey to come within striking distance.  Green Herons are reportedly one of the smartest birds.  I haven’t seen the behavior, but they’re said to drop small bits of food or insects onto the water to attract fish.

Concentration
Concentration – A Green Heron stalks its prey.

Viera is a great place to see Great Blue Herons courting, nesting, and raising young and there are several pairs active now.  I saw one nest with very small chicks already hatched.  I also saw many of the regulars there including alligators, Great Egrets, Tri-color Herons, Scaups, Coots, Red-winged Blackbirds, and others.  On the way out I also took a turn around the Click ponds, but didn’t notice anything I hadn’t already found in the main areas.  A great trip and well worth the time!

Click on the photos to go to Flickr, where you can see larger versions (the otter photo especially where you can see all the dirt it’s flung around) .  You can also see more photos from Viera Wetlands in this set on Flickr.  And I have many older posts about Viera Wetlands  – you can look through them from this link.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

MINWR is a big place!

I’m extremely fortunate to live near the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and the more I learn about it, the bigger and better it seems. I’ve been going to Black Point Wildlife Drive for several years, but only recently started exploring other locations in the Refuge. If you only have a short time to visit, Black Point is a great place to see – but there’s so much more. If you have time, visit East Gator Creek Road, Shiloh Marsh Road, Bio-Lab Road, Scrub Ridge Trail and other areas. Look here for maps of these and other MINWR trails.

Kevin M., Lutfi and I were in place on East Gator Creek Road this morning in time for sunrise. It was my first time at this spot and I was very happy with the views. Highly recommended for sunrise shots!

Merrit Island Sunrise
Merritt Island Sunrise

Next, we drove up to Shiloh Marsh Road. We were able to drive in only a short distance from either end before the way was blocked by chains – I think for duck hunting season. If you decide to drive this road, check to make sure it’s open and make sure your vehicle has plenty of ground clearance. There are some grand canyon sized potholes out there.

After Shiloh, we drove Black Point Wildlife Drive. This road was resurfaced this year and is in very good shape. Not too many potholes here.

Little Green Heron in flight
Little Green Heron in flight; I made this photo very close to the same spot a few weeks ago – is this the same bird?

Finally, we headed over to the MINWR Visitor Center to see if the Painted Buntings had arrived for the winter. But it was closed too – we’re not sure why.

Today was a wonderful day for wildlife and nature watching. We saw Spoonbills, Ospreys, Redish Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Black Vultures, Turkey Vultures, Lesser Yellowlegs, Willets, Little Green Herons, Belted Kingfishers, Tri-Color Herons, Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets, Crabs, a deer, flowers, Bald Eagles, Ibis, European Sparrows, Cormorants, Anhingas, Cardinals and butterflys among other things.

Butterfly and flower
Butterfly and flower

For more info on MINWR, this search will bring up other things I’ve written about it. And you can view some other photos I’ve made at the Refuge on Flickr here, and here.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Return to Black Point

The last time we were at Black Point Wildlife drive was back in May (https://edrosack.com/2009/05/16/birds-scarce-at-black-point-wildlife-drive-water-levels-down/) when water levels were down and there were very few birds anywhere around.

Yesterday, we made a return trip to see what the place is like after three months of almost daily rain in the Central Florida area.

We arrived right at sunrise, which was very pretty.
Sunrise reflections

Water levels are much improved: areas that were dry in May are once again filled.  However, we were disappointed by how few birds there were in the area.  My theory on this (which I didn’t come up with until the drive home) is that the severe drought in the area happened during nesting season and forced birds to build nests in other locations.  The nesting season lasts for several months and is just now ending, so it was premature for us to expect to see many birds back at Black Point until chicks have fledged.

I did manage to get nice photos of a green heron:
Green Heron in tree

And a Black-crowned night-heron:
Black-crowned Night-Heron

There were also some unusual flowers (1/14/2010 update – I think this is a “Spotted Bee Balm”):
Flower

And some very large (about 2 – 3 inches), horror show type spiders.  How would you like to walk through this web in the dark?
Wolf spider?

So, even without a large bird population it was still a nice trip with plenty to interest the Photography Interest Group.  And… there’s always Cracker Barrel on the way home!