Beyond the BackyardViera Wetlands

Nesting Time at Viera Wetlands

On the morning after Christmas I headed out to the Viera Wetlands for some sunrise photography with the Great Blue Herons. It’s funny to think that nesting season is already underway as we enter our coldest months in Florida. But not only did I find herons bringing in nesting material, but the first nest had already hatched. Two tiny babies filled the wetlands with their nagging calls.

Nesting Great Blue Heron
Nesting Great Blue Heron

This year there are fewer palm trees suitable for nesting. Many of the nests that I photographed last year are just stumps now.

The birds were not especially active on this particular morning. Mom sat low on her babies on Nest #1. A second mom was incubating on Nest #2. A third bird was showing off in hopes of attracting a mate, but didn’t seem to have her own nest yet. A juvenile made me laugh as she showed off her feathers and hopped on a nest without seeming to know what to do next.

Great Blue Heron Preening (enhanced with Topaz Glow)
Great Blue Heron Preening (enhanced with Topaz Glow)

This heron landed directly in front of me and started preening. I love their lacy feathers at this time of year. My original shot didn’t exactly match what was in my imagination, so I enhanced it a bit with Topaz Glow filters.

As I stood watching the herons, an Anhinga sat sunning on a nearby stump. I was surprised not to see any Anhingas in full breeding colors, which can be very striking.

Anhinga Sunning
Anhinga Sunning

I wandered around the wetlands looking for other subjects, surprised not to see as many ducks, gulls, and terns as in years past. It wasn’t a particularly birdy morning. This Glossy Ibis flew in front of me and showed off the shimmer in his wings. He says that every morning spent out in Nature is a good morning! :)

Glossy Ibis in Flight
Glossy Ibis in Flight