Beyond the Backyard

Productive Morning at the Viera Click Ponds

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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 Stilts and their young are all over the dried-up ponds, and the sandpipers and other small birds are definitely starting to make a comeback. From what I’ve read, the Click Ponds are drained once a year as part of the water treatment activities.  They are almost completely dry right now, with green grass even starting to grow in the southern pond.  It’s strange to see.  It works out well for the little Black-Necked Stilts, though, who have a nice safe place to feed. The adult stilts are very protective of their young.  They start fussing when a human approaches, and they sometimes fuss even when you just stop your car near their kids.  In the meantime, the baby stilts wander around unconcerned.  It’s almost comical. There were a few smaller […]

Backyard photography

Cedar Waxwings and Spotted Sandpiper

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I love how the days are longer and I can take my camera with me on our evening walks! Tonight we heard high-pitched calls, then looked up to see our first small flock of Cedar Waxwings.  Normally we’ve seen dozens of these birds by this point in the season.  This year, for some reason, we haven’t seen them at all (till tonight).  It’s not a great picture, but at this rate, it may be the only shot I have of waxwings this spring! We walked down by the Lakehurst pond and noticed a little bird poking around in the grass at the shoreline.  I’ve never seen one before, but I think this is a Spotted Sandpiper.  You can see his spots on the second picture below.  I wished I had taken The Beast with me!  The 400 just doesn’t have the same reach… :)