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.
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
Two tiny Sandhill Crane colts were just precious as they peeked out from under Mom's wingRead More
My best morning of photography in a long time - at Viera Wetlands! Caracara, spoonies, hoodies, pelicans, oh my!Read More
A rare Smooth-billed Ani at Viera Wetlands provided incredible looks and photo ops for all birders who flocked to see him.Read More
A post-Christmas visit to Viera Wetlands yielded nesting Great Blue Herons, hungry warblers, lazy Hoodies, and Limpkin family with small chicksRead More
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
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
The beautiful sunrise made a great background for the nesting Great Blue Herons at Viera Wetlands. Silhouette courtship fun! :)Read More
Early morning in a sewage treatment plant - fun! The Viera Wetlands Belted Kingfisher came close as Michael protested his stolen sunriseRead More
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
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
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
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
The Viera Wetlands nesting season is in full swing with Great Blue Heron fly-ins, courtship rituals, and even the first small chicksRead More
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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… :)
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!!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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…
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
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
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
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
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
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