Go to Top

Viera Wetlands

Viera Wetlands, formally 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).

Photography advice: Since you'll be in your car, load up on lenses. You never know what you may find!

Visit the Viera Wetlands website.

Call ahead to find out if the berm roads are open for driving - (321) 255-4488.


Chasing a Wilson’s Snake at Viera Wetlands

Chasing a Wilson’s Snake at Viera Wetlands - March 2017

Lots of birds at Viera Wetlands, including Wilson's Snipes, American Bitterns, an Osprey with Fish, courting egrets. Plus an elusive mystery snake!Read More


Precious Moments with Sandhill Crane Colts

Precious Moments with Sandhill Crane Colts - March 2017

Two tiny Sandhill Crane colts were just precious as they peeked out from under Mom's wingRead More


Incredible Photography Morning at Viera Wetlands

Incredible Photography Morning at Viera Wetlands - January 2017

My best morning of photography in a long time - at Viera Wetlands! Caracara, spoonies, hoodies, pelicans, oh my!Read More


Rare Smooth-billed Ani at Viera Wetlands

Rare Smooth-billed Ani at Viera Wetlands - January 2017

A rare Smooth-billed Ani at Viera Wetlands provided incredible looks and photo ops for all birders who flocked to see him.Read More


Holiday Fun at Viera Wetlands

Holiday Fun at Viera Wetlands - January 2017

A post-Christmas visit to Viera Wetlands yielded nesting Great Blue Herons, hungry warblers, lazy Hoodies, and Limpkin family with small chicksRead More


Christmas Coot!

Christmas Coot! - December 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 hot temperatures in Central Florida - it's expected to hit 87 tomorrow on Christmas Day! …Read More


Fogbow and a Falcon at Viera Wetlands

Fogbow and a Falcon at Viera Wetlands - January 2015

A fogbow and a falcon started off the morning at Viera Wetlands. Then nesting Great Blue Herons and a Belted Kingfisher charmed us...Read More


Great Blue Heron Silhouettes at Viera Wetlands

Great Blue Heron Silhouettes at Viera Wetlands - January 2015

The beautiful sunrise made a great background for the nesting Great Blue Herons at Viera Wetlands. Silhouette courtship fun! :)Read More


Fun with Friends at Viera Wetlands

Fun with Friends at Viera Wetlands - November 2014

Early morning in a sewage treatment plant - fun! The Viera Wetlands Belted Kingfisher came close as Michael protested his stolen sunriseRead More


Viera Wetlands and Scrub Jays with my Dad

Viera Wetlands and Scrub Jays with my Dad - March 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 some good photo ops.  Then on the way back, we stopped off to see Scrub …Read More


Bend and Snap:  Breeding Double-Crested Cormorants

Bend and Snap: Breeding Double-Crested Cormorants - March 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 waiting for him to do something.  Then quickly, he bent down, scooping his neck low …Read More


Great Blue Herons Stealing Sticks at Viera Wetlands

Great Blue Herons Stealing Sticks at Viera Wetlands - February 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!Read More


Great Blue Heron Sunrise at Viera Wetlands

Great Blue Heron Sunrise at Viera Wetlands - February 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 at Viera Wetlands and we set up for sunrise silhouettes of the nesting Great Blue …Read More


Viera Wetlands Nesting Season in Full Swing

Viera Wetlands Nesting Season in Full Swing - February 2014

The Viera Wetlands nesting season is in full swing with Great Blue Heron fly-ins, courtship rituals, and even the first small chicksRead More


Nesting Great Blue Herons at Viera Wetlands

Nesting Great Blue Herons at Viera Wetlands - January 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.   A fun place to photograph nesting Great Blue Herons is the Viera Wetlands.  If you …Read More


More Birding Fun at Viera

More Birding Fun at Viera - November 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 other subjects.  Like this Snowy Egret, who proudly strutted around with his white feathers fluffed …Read More


Roseate Spoonbills at Viera Wetlands

Roseate Spoonbills at Viera Wetlands - November 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 are some of my favorite birds.  Their pink feathers and long spoonbills are such fun …Read More


If At First You Don’t Succeed…Try, Try Again!

If At First You Don’t Succeed…Try, Try Again! - October 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 one of the ponds in a large flock.  It was birdy paradise, but a challenge …Read More


Black-Bellied Whistling-Ducklings at Viera Wetlands

Black-Bellied Whistling-Ducklings at Viera Wetlands - September 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 made me very happy to sit out in the hot sun and photograph them! The …Read More


Incoming!

Incoming! - December 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.


Cloudy HDR

Cloudy HDR - August 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 the cell phone tower… :)


Bigfoot Sighting

Bigfoot Sighting - August 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!!


A Rainy Day First

A Rainy Day First - August 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 friends are often surprised to hear that fall migration begins so early in the summer. …Read More


Cloudy Morning at Viera Wetlands

Cloudy Morning at Viera Wetlands - August 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 might as well go and enjoy it. I headed to Viera Wetlands, where I could …Read More


Lazy Morning at the Viera Wetlands

Lazy Morning at the Viera Wetlands - July 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 good spot, set up, and photograph there for a while. Running into friends was also …Read More


Do You Miss Us Yet?

Signs of Spring at the Viera Wetlands

Signs of Spring at the Viera Wetlands - April 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 common birds are the most fun to phtoograph… I was down on the edge of …Read More


How Quickly They Grow Up!

How Quickly They Grow Up! - April 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 the distant wetlands provided a nice blurred background.  Alas, I arrived and found the nest …Read More


Nesting Great Blue Herons

Nesting Great Blue Herons - March 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 itself.  No matter how they positioned it, it stuck out on the side of the …Read More


Return of the Spring

Return of the Spring - March 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 sit on their nests, rain or shine! I was hoping for some baby Great Blue …Read More


Bottoms Up!

Bottoms Up! - January 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 I tried to capture her feet as she rummaged for her breakfast. I thought a …Read More


Nesting Great Blue Herons

Nesting Great Blue Herons - January 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 playing with the focus.  it is so accurate and fast, but it doesn't have the …Read More


Frogs for Breakfast at Viera Wetlands

Frogs for Breakfast at Viera Wetlands - December 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 wetlands. By the time I got there, the eagle had had his breakfast, and the …Read More


Early Morning at the Viera Wetlands Click Ponds

Early Morning at the Viera Wetlands Click Ponds - December 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 first Horned Grebe, but he was so far away that I won't embarrass myself by …Read More


Three’s a Crowd

Three’s a Crowd - November 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 trunk. I noticed a second small bird sharing the perch with the kingfisher, and I …Read More


Birds Posing on Palms at Viera Wetlands

Birds Posing on Palms at Viera Wetlands - November 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 with some nice shots, mostly of birds posing on the dead palm trunks that are …Read More


A Morning of Firsts at the Click Ponds

A Morning of Firsts at the Click Ponds - July 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 have "gone green."  It's so strange to see grass growing where the water is …Read More


Surprise!  Another New Bird

Surprise! Another New Bird - July 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 significantly smaller. So I started trying to identify my new bird, and I think I …Read More


Productive Morning at the Viera Click Ponds

Productive Morning at the Viera Click Ponds - July 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.  It was the first time I'd seen American Avocets, and they are really cool.  Black-necked …Read More


Preview:  American Avocets at Viera Wetlands!

Preview: American Avocets at Viera Wetlands! - July 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…


Cute Babies at Viera Wetlands

Cute Babies at Viera Wetlands - July 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 my work from the morning.  I also had the pleasure of finally meeting …Read More


The Importance of Camera Angle

The Importance of Camera Angle - July 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 as creamy as I wanted. I knelt down and took the same shot again, and …Read More


Expect the Unexpected at Viera Wetlands

Expect the Unexpected at Viera Wetlands - July 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.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  Starting with the Least Bittern that …Read More


Spring Morning at Viera Wetlands

Spring Morning at Viera Wetlands - April 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 with the birds.  Except we didn't find as many birds as had been reported!  Oh …Read More


Diving Hoodies at Viera Wetlands

Diving Hoodies at Viera Wetlands - December 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 typically see mergansers at the Circle B Bar Reserve where we normally bird.) We got …Read More


A New Place to Explore: Viera Wetlands

A New Place to Explore: Viera Wetlands - November 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 water and there were plenty of birds as a result! I saw my first-ever Hooded …Read More