Beyond the BackyardViera Wetlands

Holiday Fun at Viera Wetlands

A few days after Christmas, I visited the Viera Wetlands to photograph the nesting Great Blue Herons. Yep, springtime nesting is upon us, even though it’s January! Our Florida birds are smart. They’d prefer to shiver on their nests in January rather than raising their chicks in the hot summer months. I love watching these graceful herons as they carefully place sticks on their nests.

Great Blue Heron Courtship
Great Blue Heron Courtship

Alas, on this particular morning, we had about 60 seconds of golden light before the sun disappeared behind a bank of clouds.  So Michael and I got to photography gray birds against gray skies.  Oh well!

When the herons weren’t cooperating, I turned my tripod to the Common Yellowthroats hopping around in the bushes.  The spider webs were loaded and the little birds were stuffing themselves for breakfast.  Apparently birds aren’t taught to chew with their mouths closed…

Common Yellowthroat with Spider for Breakfast
Common Yellowthroat with Spider for Breakfast

The Palm Warblers were out also, bobbing their tails as they hopped on the ground.  I got down on my hands and knees to watch.

Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler

The sun finally came out and it quickly got hot.  This Anhinga enjoyed the warmth on his feathers.

Anhinga
Anhinga

A pair of Hooded Mergansers spent the morning charming photographers.  When I walked past, the male Hoodie was sleepy.  He floated lazily in the water while his mate fluffed up her feathers and went fishing.  Then she swam towards him and nipped him, as if to fuss as him for napping so early in the day.  He perked up for a second and then went back to sleep.

Hooded Mergansers
Hooded Mergansers

Ursula drove by and told me where to find a family of Limpkins with small chicks.  Sure enough, a pair of small fuzzballs was peeping and playing peek-a-boo in the grass as their parents fed them apple snails.  It always amazes me how much Limpkin chicks look like Sandhill Crane colts.  These babies even stretched their legs and practiced their hop-skip-jump!

Limpkin Mom and Baby
Limpkin Mom and Baby

It felt so good to be out.  I will try to go back for better sunrise light before the heron nesting season is over.

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