Beyond the BackyardViera Wetlands

Fogbow and a Falcon at Viera Wetlands

It had been rainy and cloudy for too many days in a row.  I had to get out with my camera, even though the forecast called for, you guessed it, more icky weather!  I wasn’t the only one who felt the need to get out.  When I arrived at Viera Wetlands about half an hour before fogrise, a nice little group of photographers had assembled.  It was great to see everybody!  With 100% humidity and very thick fog, you’d think we had little chance to make good images.  But we scared up a fogbow and a falcon… :)

Fogrise at Viera Wetlands
Fogrise at Viera Wetlands

Yep, the fog was as thick as pea soup.  Michael and I stood looking at the “Falcon Perch” from one angle, while Donna and Mike headed down to get a little closer.  A few minutes later, Donna was calling Michael trying to find us!  She couldn’t see us, but we could hear Donna’s voice in the mist.

Then I turned around and saw a pair of American Bitterns crossing the road.  Why did the bitterns cross the road?  They didn’t have time to tell me.  A walker came by and startled them.  I got a very quick flight shot through the fog, and with some Levels corrections in Photoshop, you can even see the bird in the photo!

American Bittern
American Bittern

Michael noticed the fogbow forming over our heads.  I had left my wide-angle lens in the car, so I pulled out my iPhone and used its Panorama feature to take this shot.

Fogbow at Viera (taken with my iPhone)
Fogbow at Viera (taken with my iPhone)

As the fog dissipated, we could finally see some of our subjects.  It was my first time seeing the famous Peregrine Falcon at Viera.  He has a perch that he comes to pretty regularly at sunrise.  Luckily for us, he stayed on the perch long enough for some light to fall on him.

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

A group of Double-crested Cormorants perched on a tree caught my eye.  They were silhouetted against the brilliance of the emerging sun, and they were preening and flapping their wings as they prepared to fly off for the morning.  They seemed to point me in the direction of some good photos…

Cormorant Tree
Cormorant Tree

The nesting Great Blue Herons are always fun at Viera at this time of year.  They nest at the tops of the palm trees, and they spend a little time every morning bringing in new sticks to add to their nests.  On this particular morning, the male heron kept returning to the same same to grab his stick, just a little way down the road from us.  He was very selective in choosing…

Nesting Material
Nesting Material

When he brought the stick to his mate, she stood up and helped him place it carefully on the nest.

Great Blue Heron Twig Exchange
Great Blue Heron Twig Exchange

Then he flew off back to the stick farm.  Silly bird, the light was only starting to get good, and he decided he’d had enough nest-building for the morning!

Great Blue Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight

So Michael and I headed down to the Other Famous Snag Area, where the Belted Kingfisher has been charming photographers lately.  On this particular morning, she was playing Musical Trees.  We stood waiting at Perch #1, and she flew in to Perch #2.  We ran over to Perch #2, and she flew away to Perch #3.  Silly bird!  My favorite shot from the morning was from her far-off perch, where she took her fish after she left the close perch.  I didn’t realize that I’d gotten her taking off with the fish!

Belted Kingfisher with Fish
Belted Kingfisher with Fish

4 thoughts on “Fogbow and a Falcon at Viera Wetlands

  1. What a neat place Viera is! Love your shot of that “fogbow”. Jealous of the Peregrine photo – I’ve never spotted him there. I have some pics that are blue-gray blurs which are supposed to be Kingfishers, but it’s nice to know SOMEONE can get a great image! Nice work.

    Good thing that place isn’t any closer, I’d never stay home.

    Great post!

    1. Apparently the Peregrine has been pretty regular at a dead snag not far from the nesting Great Blue Herons. You have to be there at sunrise to catch him though. I’m with you – if it was closer, I’d be there every day!

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