Beyond the BackyardViera Wetlands

Signs of Spring at the Viera Wetlands

Last weekend I spent a morning at the Viera Wetlands.  It was a cloudy morning, with sunshine in spurts, and I was just happy to be outside.  The Great Blue Herons chicks are growing up quickly, as I wrote about last week.  There were also many other signs of springtime around the wetlands.  Sometimes the common birds are the most fun to phtoograph…

I was down on the edge of the berm photographing the juvenile Great Blue Herons when this Red-Winged Blackbird hopped onto the trail.  Since I was so much lower than he was, I got a birds-eye angle on him without having to get down on my knees!  I love how his wing shines with his bright red and yellow patch.  The green grasses shine in the soft morning light.

I went to Viera in hopes of photographing the babies on this nest, and I was disappointed to find that the nest no longer was there.  However, there were other juvenile Anhingas on other palms, just farther away than “my” nest.  One palm housed two juveniles, and another housed three, or so I thought.  Both families were entertaining and I enjoyed watching their antics.  There was much begging for food and wing-flapping, as all the juveniles were developing their flight feathers.  I thought of the group of three as “the three stooges” until boo! out came the fourth chick.  This chick was clearly the smallest, probably the latest to hatch, and certainly the weakest.  He looked like he was holding his own with his older, stronger siblings.

I stopped by one particular palm that I know hosted a Red-Bellied Woodpecker nest in the past few years.  After I watched for a few minutes, both birds came out of the cavity.  Maybe next time I go there will be babies sticking their heads out to say hello.

As I stood and watched the Anhingas, I noticed a Swamp Sparrow hop into the reeds in front of me.  It was one of those situations when you would never spot the bird unless you saw him fly in.  He poked around in the reeds for a while, eating bits of seed.  Even the weeds at Viera right now are kinda pretty.

Grackles are all over the wetlands right now, in full baby-raising mode.  The adults are making nests, chasing off predators, and feeding their babies.  I spotted quite a few fledglings hopping around in the reeds.  They are so funny to watch when they beg.  A parent flies in and the baby stands there hopping around, waving his mouth in the air, and flapping his wings.  My favorite juvenile image was taken at the Click Ponds.

I loved how the sun made this adult grackle’s black feathers shine blue, with the muted green of the wetlands behind him.  Yes, even the common birds can be pretty and fun to photograph!