Nesting Time at Viera Wetlands
January 3, 2019 - Late December is nesting season for Great Blue Herons at the Viera Wetlands. It's fun to photograph their breeding behaviors.
Viera Wetlands, officially known as the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands at Viera, is a water treatment facility that attracts lots of birds. Berm roads criss-cross the wetlands, and on most days you can drive your car on the roads. Cars make great blinds for photographing skittish birds! Crested Caracara can regularly be seen at Viera, along with Roseate Spoonbills and many other wading birds. Nesting Great Blue Herons give great photo ops in December-January. Black-bellied Whistling Ducklings can often be found in summer (July and August).
Update 2023: Viera has declined in the past few years, with fewer birds and lots of road closures. I hear it’s closed a lot these days. If you’re visiting FL, I suggest you try Orlando Wetlands instead.
Since you’ll be in your car, load up on lenses. You never know what you may find!
Call ahead to find out if the berm roads are open for driving – (321) 255-4488.
|When to Go||Year Round|
|Species Photographed (72)||American Avocet, American Bittern, American Coot, American Kestrel, American White Pelican, Anhinga, Bald Eagle, Barn Swallow, Belted Kingfisher, Black Tern, Black-Crowned Night-Heron, Black-Necked Stilt, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Blue-Winged Teal, Boat-Tailed Grackle, Bufflehead, Canvasback, Caspian Tern, Cattle Egret, Common Gallinule, Common Yellowthroat, Cooper's Hawk, Crested Caracara, Double-Crested Cormorant, Eastern Phoebe, European Starling, Florida Scrub-Jay, Forster's Tern, Glossy Ibis, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Green Heron, Green-Winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, Horned Grebe, Killdeer, King Rail, Least Bittern, Least Sandpiper, Lesser Scaup, Limpkin, Little Blue Heron, Loggerhead Shrike, Mottled Duck, Osprey, Palm Warbler, Pectoral Sandpiper, Peregrine Falcon, Pied-Billed Grebe, Pine Warbler, Purple Gallinule, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Red-Winged Blackbird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Redhead, Ring-Billed Gull, Ring-Necked Duck, Roseate Spoonbill, Sandhill Crane, Savannah Sparrow, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Smooth-billed Ani, Snowy Egret, Sora, Spotted Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, Swamp Sparrow, Tricolored Heron, Turkey Vulture, Wilson's Phalarope, Wilson's Snipe, Wood Stork|
|Google Map||Click here to view Google Map|
January 3, 2019 - Late December is nesting season for Great Blue Herons at the Viera Wetlands. It's fun to photograph their breeding behaviors.
January 8, 2018 - Nesting is underway at Viera Wetlands, where Great Blue Herons, Anhingas, and Cormorants are claiming palm trees and showing off their breeding plumage
November 24, 2017 - My first visit to Viera Wetlands after Hurricane Irma yielded nesting Great Blue Herons, a fishing Belted Kingfisher, and first-of-fall coots!
March 30, 2017 - Lots of birds at Viera Wetlands, including Wilson's Snipes, American Bitterns, an Osprey with Fish, courting egrets. Plus an elusive mystery snake!
March 26, 2017 - Two tiny Sandhill Crane colts were just precious as they peeked out from under Mom's wing
January 20, 2017 - My best morning of photography in a long time - at Viera Wetlands! Caracara, spoonies, hoodies, pelicans, oh my!
January 16, 2017 - A rare Smooth-billed Ani at Viera Wetlands provided incredible looks and photo ops for all birders who flocked to see him.
January 10, 2017 - A post-Christmas visit to Viera Wetlands yielded nesting Great Blue Herons, hungry warblers, lazy Hoodies, and Limpkin family with small chicks
December 24, 2015 - 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. We’ve having record […]
January 8, 2015 - A fogbow and a falcon started off the morning at Viera Wetlands. Then nesting Great Blue Herons and a Belted Kingfisher charmed us...
January 2, 2015 - The beautiful sunrise made a great background for the nesting Great Blue Herons at Viera Wetlands. Silhouette courtship fun! :)
November 18, 2014 - Early morning in a sewage treatment plant - fun! The Viera Wetlands Belted Kingfisher came close as Michael protested his stolen sunrise
March 17, 2014 - Regular readers of my blog will know that my dad and I love to go out on photo expeditions together. With my crazy work schedule, we haven’t been out much lately. All winter I’ve been promising him a trip to Viera Wetlands. Well, we finally went! The wetlands were a little quiet, but we had […]
March 8, 2014 - A few weekends ago at Viera Wetlands, I photographed this Double-crested Cormorant on a palm tree trunk in front of me. The bird sat there staring at me with his gorgeous bright blue eye, which is one of the features of his breeding plumage. He stared at me so long that I got tired of […]
February 22, 2014 - The nesting Great Blue Herons were stealing sticks at Viera Wetlands last weekend. The nest's owner wasn't too happy with the thieves!
February 16, 2014 - I almost slept in yesterday morning. After working for six weeks straight with only two days off, I was tired. Then I saw the radar at 5am and almost didn’t go at all. Finally I said to myself, “Self, get out there and have fun!” I’m so glad I did! I met Michael Libbe […]
February 1, 2014 - The Viera Wetlands nesting season is in full swing with Great Blue Heron fly-ins, courtship rituals, and even the first small chicks
January 8, 2014 - It’s getting to be my favorite time of year – bird nesting season! For those of us lucky to live in Florida, spring seems to come pretty early, with owls and eagles starting to nest as early as November. The Great Blue Herons are the first of the large wading birds to begin nesting. […]
November 4, 2013 - In my last post I wrote about the Roseate Spoonbills roosting at Viera Wetlands in the Click Ponds. Well, there are a bunch of other fun birds there too. Especially during the early golden light, when the spoonies weren’t cooperating for photography, it was amazing to be surrounded by pink and yet I was photographing […]
November 2, 2013 - There are so many Roseate Spoonbills at Viera Wetlands right now! The Click Ponds were recently drained, and the low water levels have attracted lots of wading birds, especially Roseate Spoonbills. It’s an incredible sight to drive up and see several hundred spoonies feeding in a group right in front of you! The Roseate Spoonbills […]
October 26, 2013 - Yesterday morning I went to the Viera Wetlands to photograph Roseate Spoonbills. The water levels at the Click Ponds are very low, which attracts hundreds of wading birds. Besides the spoonies, there were American White Pelicans, Wood Storks, Snowy Egrets, Sandhill Cranes, and a variety of shorebirds. They all hang out at one corner of […]
September 17, 2013 - Two weeks ago I went out in search of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducklings at Viera Wetlands. Usually the wetlands are quiet during the summertime, and it’s a great place to stay in your air-conditioned car while you wait for birding action. But on this visit, I quickly found several families of the Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, and their cuteness […]
December 28, 2012 - This is one of my favorite Great Blue Heron nesting shots from last year. I had fun on the computer with it today, applying Fractalius and some texture to the image. I’m looking forward to getting out to the Viera Wetlands to enjoy this year’s nesting birds.
August 9, 2012 - Did I mention that the weather was really, really bad on Sunday at Viera Wetlands? :) But it was still a great morning. I liked how the dark clouds made a backdrop for the palm trees in this landscape image. It’s an HDR composite with some Nik ColorEfex tonal magic. I couldn’t resist taking out […]
August 8, 2012 - I think I found Bigfoot last weekend at the Viera Wetlands! Dina calls these Common Gallinule chicks “alien babies,” which is an excellent description of the newborns. This guy is starting to molt into his juvenile plumage, and so I guess he’s half-alien. He also has a very big foot!!
August 6, 2012 - I had a photography “lifer” yesterday at Viera Wetlands – my first up-close Stilt Sandpiper. He was hanging out with some Black-Necked Stilts in a nice shallow part of the water. He’s molting into basic plumage, and look at those wings! They show a lot of wear and tear from his long trip south. Non-birding […]
August 5, 2012 - I debated whether to go out to photograph this morning. The forecast was just plain gross – 70% cloudcover, 50% chance of rain by 11:00, and over 90% humidity. Yep, that’s Florida in the summer! But I woke up early and decided that it’s been weeks since I’ve been able to get out, so I […]
July 7, 2012 - The summer heat is definitely here in Florida, and I was too lazy to go for a hot hike last Sunday morning. So I went to Viera Wetlands, where I can bird and photograph from the air-conditioned comfort of my car! I like how I can cover more ground driving than hiking. I’ll find a […]
May 16, 2012 -
April 22, 2012 - 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 […]
April 16, 2012 - I visited Viera Wetlands yesterday morning in hopes of photographing the Anhinga babies from the nest that I observed back in March. I caught the adults building the nest and copulating, and I was excited to pair those photos with a few baby portraits. The nest was awesome, too – close to the berm, and […]
March 9, 2012 - Last weekend at Viera Wetlands I had a good time watching some Great Blue Heron nests. This first nest had two small chicks, and the parents were being careful to keep the nest built up well around their young offspring. One particularly long stick was rather problematic. It was so long, longer than the nest […]
March 5, 2012 - We’ll conclude the “Lord of the Rings”-inspired post titles with the “Return of the Spring”…and of the Beast to Viera Wetlands! The weather for Saturday morning was iffy at best, with fog and wind in the forecast. I decided to head to Viera, figuring that the nesting Great Blue Herons and Anhingas would have to […]
January 29, 2012 - The most frustrating part about photographing ducks is that they give you far too many “butt-shot” opportunities. Of course, if I was a duck and I had to dive for food, I guess I’d spend a lot of time with my head underwater as well! I spent some time watching this Blue-Winged Teal diving, and […]
January 24, 2012 - On my last day of Christmas break, Dyeyo and I went to Viera Wetlands. The highlight of the morning were a couple of nesting pairs of Great Blue Herons. They brought sticks in to their nests, gave us courtship shots, and then initiated the egg-making process. I was using my new 1D and having fun […]
December 5, 2011 - Yesterday I wrote about my morning at the Click Ponds. Then I drove over to the Viera Wetlands, where the ducks are starting to come back. There were plenty of coots (10054 if you listen to Kathy!!), with a few Shoveler, Hooded Mergansers, and a Bufflehead mixed in. I should have started out at the […]
December 4, 2011 - I had a great morning with friends at the Viera Wetlands. The morning started at the Click Ponds, two small ponds adjacent to the wetlands. After a post to Birdbrains yesterday about a Common Loon, which I’ve never seen, I was anxious to try for one. But we didn’t see one. We did see my […]
November 25, 2011 - Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time. A few days ago when I was at Viera Wetlands, I was waiting for a fly-in shot on a nice palm trunk perch. The birds weren’t cooperating, though, and my attention moved to a Belted Kingfisher sitting on a different palm […]
November 22, 2011 - It’s been a while since I went birding anywhere except the Circle B Bar Reserve, so I decided to head over to Viera Wetlands yesterday morning. I’ve been following the birding news on Birdbrains and I knew that the wetlands aren’t particularly active at the moment, and that was true. But I did end up […]
July 30, 2011 - I saw several birds for the first time this morning at the Click Ponds: two Wilson’s Phalaropes, Black Terns, Stilt Sandpipers, and a Semipalmated Sandpiper. It was a fun morning to be out! I arrived at the Click Ponds (across from Viera Wetlands) just after sunrise. The Click Ponds have all but dried up and now […]
July 27, 2011 - I was going through my photos from Viera Wetlands from last Friday again when I realized that I had a new bird. At first I assumed this bird was a Least Sandpiper, but it was too big. In the uncropped image a Least Sandpiper was in front of this guy, and the Least Sandpiper is […]
July 23, 2011 - After hearing on Birdbrains about the early fall migrants at Viera Wetlands, I had to make a trip over there. The wetlands itself was very unproductive, with not even the Purple Gallinules showing themselves to me. No Black-bellied Whistling Ducks greeted me, either. But over in the Click Ponds, there was a ton of activity. […]
July 22, 2011 - I spent my off-Friday morning at Viera Wetlands, excited by the Birdbrains reports of American Avocets and pharalopes and baby Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. Of those three, all I found were the avocets. This was my first opportunity to see and photograph American Avocets. Here’s a teaser picture, with a full post to come tomorrow…
July 9, 2011 - I went to Viera Wetlands on Saturday morning. After all the rain on Friday, I wasn’t optimistic about the light level (I actually didn’t decide to make the drive until Saturday morning at 5am!) There was virtually no sun till the very end of the morning, but the babies were cute and I was relatively pleased with […]
July 6, 2011 - While shooting at the Viera Wetlands this weekend, I enjoyed watching some Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks landing on palm tree stumps. There was potential for beautiful background bokeh with the green trees in the distant background. At first I stood to photograph, which gave me this kind of picture: Then I realized that the background wasn’t […]
July 4, 2011 - Dyeyo and I went to Viera Wetlands this morning with hopes of finding some of the babies reported on Birdbrains, and maybe the Fulvous Whistling Duck that was photographed there yesterday. It’s summer, though, and I wasn’t optimistic that we’d find much, especially since we don’t get to Viera often and so are not as familiar with the area. […]
April 17, 2011 - Dyeyo and I couldn’t take it anymore. People on the Birdbrains mailing list have been going on and on this week about all the birds at Viera Wetlands. So we drove out there this morning to see all the birds. It was a beautiful sunny, slightly breezy morning, and it was awesome to be outside […]
December 28, 2010 - Dyeyo and I drove over to Viera Wetlands in search of the Ross’s Goose that has been reported there on the BirdBrainz list serve. We didn’t see the goose, but we did see a group of happy, diving Hooded Mergansers. It was the first time either of us had seen a female Hoodie (we don’t […]
November 26, 2010 - I’ve heard birders mention Viera Wetlands so often that I had to get over there to see it for myself. It reminds me of Circle B Bar Reserve in that it is a local wetlands area with great birds — and unlike Circle B, which is so dry right now, this wetlands had plenty of […]