Beyond the Backyard

Viera Wetlands and Scrub Jays with my Dad

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Blue-winged Teal (Drake)

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 Jays.  It was a great morning and so nice to be back out behind a camera!! The Great Blue Heron nesting season is starting wind down at Viera Wetlands.  Junior, the first baby, stood tall and proud on his nest.  I’m not sure the piggy-back rides that I saw on my last visit amounted to much. Only one pair appeared to still be nest-building.  The rest of the birds had fairly big babies.  I think stick-stealing season is over for the year. We noticed a little Green Heron sitting at the edge of the water.  They are rarely this visible, preferring to stay under cover when possible.  We hopped out of the car to take a few shots of this very cooperative subject. The ducks weren’t as plentiful at Viera […]

Beyond the Backyard

Three’s a Crowd

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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 moved the camera over to check him out (it was a European Starling). Within seconds, a Double-Crested Cormorant flew in and displaced both the Kingfisher and the Starling. Lucky for me I had the camera on 8-frames-a-second mode!

Beyond the Backyard

Spring Morning at Viera Wetlands

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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 well.  I still got some good pictures. :) First there was the Green Heron posing on a dead palm tree in the first cell as we entered the wetlands.  I love all the dead trees at Viera – it makes for awesome portraits! We drove around the outside of the cells first, just to get a feel for what birds were around.  I was hoping to see some Least Bitterns, but we didn’t see much at all as we drove around.  The Common Moorhens are taking over the ponds again.  The American Coots are almost gone, and so are all the other ducks.  So I guess the moorhens figure that it’s time to reclaim their territory and get to laying eggs! We came across the Viera Sandhill Crane family on […]

Beyond the Backyard

Fledglings are Starting to Leave Gatorland’s Bird Rookery

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The nesting season at Gatorland’s Rookery is starting to come to a close.  While there are still nests under incubation, and some nests have tiny babies, the majority of the babies have fledged, and they spend their time hopping around in the tops of the tallest trees they can find. The rookery was strangely quiet this morning as the sun rose.  I guess the fledglings are starting to figure out how to feed themselves, and they don’t have to fuss for food as much. The majority of the Wood Storks have left the rookery, and you can see them teaching their babies to fish in the south pond by the Papyrus Islands.  This was one of the few storks who hung out in the rookery this morning: A bunch of the adult birds have started to molt.  You can see the feathers in their faces are getting thinner, and in the case of this Cattle Egret, it looks like her face is really dirty. This Great Egret juvenile fussed his little head off every time his parent came by.  I think the parent was trying to encourage the bird to branch-hop, as the parent kept hopping farther away, trying to […]