Tag Archives: Wilson’s Snipe

A Marvelous Morning

We organized a photo expedition to Viera Wetlands yesterday.  I went with Kevin K., Kevin M., and Tom M.  We tried a new sunrise location, Alan Shepard Park, right on the beach in Cocoa where SR 520 ends.  Even though we got blocked by a train stuck on the tracks and a closed parking lot, we made it in time for the show.  I was also worried that there wouldn’t be much color, but Mother Nature rewarded our efforts.

On the beachOn the beach

There were a lot of shore birds on the beach with us. I have several more images to process with them in the foreground.

Our next stop was the wetlands, and this trip demonstrated the advantages of having extra eyeballs to help search for things.  We went right by this Bittern until Tom saw it and got us to stop. They’re pretty reliable in the winter at Viera, but they’re hard to see sometimes.  Their standard behavior is to freeze in the grass / reeds and try to blend in.  They don’t spook very easy, so you can get fairly close without bothering them.

American Bittern in the grassAmerican Bittern in the grass

A little further on, Kevin M. called out a Snipe he spotted.  It was on the opposite side of the car, so I got out quietly and snuck around.  It took me a bit to see it even though it was only a few feet away.  This one was pretty calm and let us photograph for several minutes.  They’re small and usually skittish.  And they fly erratically, so they’re usually hard to photograph.  Again, though they seem to like to stop by Viera in the winter.

Wilson's Snipe in the grassWilson’s Snipe in the grass

Belted Kingfishers are also common around Florida in the winter.  If you’ve ever seen one of these, you know how hard it can be to photograph them.  You’ll see them perched on a branch and as soon as you try to get closer or even point your lens toward them, they take off and move further away.  This one was more tolerant than usual and I was able to get set for it to leave.  But I was over conservative with my zoom  and left too much  room in the frame.  I did catch it, and even though it’s a little small, it’s one of my best flight shots of one.  But I’ll have to keep trying.

Belted Kingfisher in flightBelted Kingfisher in flight

We spotted Red-winged Blackbirds, Black Crowned Night Herons, Little Blue Herons, Tri-colored Herons, Green Herons, Egrets, a hawk, Grebes, Morehens, a juvenile Purple Galinule, and Ring Necked Ducks.  And Kevin M. also called out a Ruddy Duck – which was a life bird for me but in very poor light, so I won’t post it here.  Kevin K. was the first to spot a herd of deer (well four of them at least) – which I don’t see very often there.  Great Blue Herons, Anhingas, Sand Hill Cranes, and Cormorants are all nesting now too.

So it was a marvelous morning.  Great weather, scenery, bird watching, photography, and friends.  Much better than sleeping in!

Please click on the images above to see a larger version on Flickr.  And you can see many more of my photos from Viera Wetlands in this Flickr album.

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

©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

A very nice Viera morning

Although it was very tempting to sleep in this morning, I was up early and made it over to Viera Wetlands in time to witness another one of nature’s shows.  The clouds cooperated and did their part, the sun and calm water pitched in, a couple of coots made just the right ripples, and all I had to do was snap the shutter.

Sunrise at Viera Wetlands

Sunrise at Viera Wetlands

Once the sun was up, we parked the cars and walked for a while, thinking that the slow deliberate approach would yield better photos than the quick drive method.  It didn’t – we failed to find much of interest on foot.  The light wasn’t very good either – due to the clouds that made the sunrise so nice.  We ended up getting back in the cars and using them to find things of interest.  And after a while, the clouds cleared and we had better light for bird photography.

Last week we saw several Snipes, but couldn’t get good photos since they took off and flew fast and erratic as soon as we got close.  This week our luck was better (or this bird was a bit tired).  He stayed still for us to make his portrait.

Wilson's (Common) Snipe

Wilson’s (Common) Snipe

We saw the usual Heron and Egret suspects, along with Anhingas, Hawks, Black Crowned Night Herons, American Bitterns, Savannah Sparrows, Northern Shovelers, and Sandhill Cranes.  I was able to photograph two new (for me) species – Ring Neck Ducks, and Lesser Scaups.

We also took a turn ’round the click ponds and there was a great deal of activity there.  This Cormorant surprised me when he came up with his breakfast.

Cormorant with fish

Cormorant with fish

We had a great time.  Clicking on these photos will open them on Flickr, where you can view larger versions.  You can also visit my Viera Wetlands set on Flickr to see other photos I’ve made there.

© 2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.