Beyond the BackyardViera Wetlands

Christmas Coot!

The weather forecast this morning was a little frightful (mostly cloudy), but the prospect of birding was delightful, so I headed to Viera Wetlands to celebrate a wonderful day off from work!  It was great seeing Michael, Donna, and Mike as the Belted Kingfisher “Miss Viera Sushi” mocked us and evaded her favorite perch.

Christmas Eve Sunrise at Viera Wetlands
Christmas Eve Sunrise at Viera Wetlands

We’ve having record hot temperatures in Central Florida – it’s expected to hit 87 tomorrow on Christmas Day!  Usually Viera mornings of watching the nesting Great Blue Herons involve extra layers, a hat, and a scarf.  Today the pale skies added to the tropical feeling as I wished I had worn shorts!

The light wasn’t awesome, but the birds were fun.  I loved the nesting herons with their courtship behaviors at sunrise.  Immediately behind them was the famous Belted Kingfisher who likes to pose for photographers.  Today, though, one of the Great Blue Herons kept coming to that perch to sit.  So the Belted Kingfisher stayed farther out in the marsh.  So I trained my camera on some of the little birds in front of me…

Male Common Yellowthroat
Male Common Yellowthroat

I’m out of practice with my camera!  My focusing times were pretty bad today.  So it was nice of the little birds to sit still occasionally to give me time to get them into my frame.  Maybe it was their Christmas gift to me. :)

Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler

Speaking of Christmas, everybody laughed at me when I started photographing the coots…but this one was a Christmas coot!  His red eye and his green vegetation were all ready for the holiday. :)

Christmas Coot!
Christmas Coot!

Who can resist taking a few photos of the Great Blue Herons as they bring nesting material into their trees?  I love this time of year, when the tall, lanky wading birds turn into beauties and strut their breeding feathers.   The Great Blues are so graceful as they stand together in their nest and carefully place each twig.

Nesting Great Blue Herons
Nesting Great Blue Herons

Thanks to Michael’s good eye, we turned around and got a few shots of a pair of Pine Warblers in the — you guessed it — pine trees.  They were joined by a couple of Yellow-Rumped Warblers also.

Pine Warbler
Pine Warbler

I was on my way out when Donna spotted the best bird of the day.  A Horned Grebe!  Silly bird, he posed up close for Donna and Mike, then headed far away behind the reeds before Michael and I could get there.  But he did do some struts for the camera, so we forgave him for trying to evade our cameras.  A Horned Grebe is a good bird for Viera Wetlands.  Another Christmas present!

Horned Grebe
Horned Grebe

It was so great to get out with my camera again.  I’m looking forward to work slowing down in a few months, just in time for nesting season.  In the meantime, though, a very Merry Christmas to all my blog readers!  May your visions tonight dance with sugarplums and Christmas Coots! :-)

4 thoughts on “Christmas Coot!

    1. Of course we’d love to shoot with you! Unfortunately, my work schedule is insane right now – I may get a day or two off before the New Year, then probably very limited shooting until early March. Perfect timing for Sandhill Crane colt season! I’ve been loving your Alaska blogs. Keep them coming so we can live vicariously through your lens :-)

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