Search Results for: viera wetlands

Random April Viera Wetlands

This might become a longer series, now that Viera Wetlands is a day trip rather than a week-long road trip. My first such post was back in November, 2009. All of these photos were taken in late April, 2011.

Viera Babies
Baby Anhingas and baby Great Blue Herons share a nest tree

Juvenile White Ibis
Foraging juvenile White Ibis

Viera Rookery
Heron/Egret rookery

Crested Caracara pair
Pair of Crested Caracara

SACR Family
Sandhill Crane family

Loggerhead Shrike
Loggerhead Shrike

Pair of Limpkins

Share the birds, share the love!
Posted in Florida, Viera Wetlands | Leave a comment

Random Viera Wetlands

Can you tell I like Viera Wetlands? We visited twice last week and it was great, much better than our previous visit mosquito-wise too. What a relief, we could drive with the windows down and not get eaten alive. We had 48 species over the two visits, including our lifer American Bittern (in flight, no photo unfortunately). Here are some other Viera highlights from 15 and 18 November.


Viera Wetlands

White Ibis

Northern Shoveler

Tricolored Heron

Hooded Merganser

Blue-winged Teal

Bald Eagle flying

Viera Wetlands

Share the birds, share the love!
Posted in Florida, Viera Wetlands | 1 Comment

Birding at Viera Wetlands

While in Florida last week we did some birding at Viera Wetlands (while waiting out the time between shuttle launch scrubs). We wanted to go to Viera and Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge and weren’t sure which one to visit first. I mentioned our dilemma on Twitter and got this reply from Birdchick: “Do Viera, do Viera, do Viera!” This was very good advice indeed: Merritt Island was actually closed the entire time we were on the Space Coast due to the scheduled shuttle launch. (Birdchick also has some great blog posts about Viera which I would highly recommend to anyone planning a visit there: Birdchick’s Viera Wetlands posts.)

Viera Wetlands Welcome

The Viera Wetlands, actually named the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands at Viera, are owned by the Brevard County Utility Services and are part of a non-traditional water treatment method used by the county. We knew this going in; what we didn’t realize is that the wetlands are perfectly set up for wildlife viewing, with an observation tower and several one-way roads providing routes through the ponds that are absolutely ideal for birding from the car.

Viera Wetlands

We visited two different mornings and almost melted in the heat, which we totally weren’t used to. When we visited on Friday, June 12 it was about 85°F when we arrived with 85% humidity and no wind. We decided to drive the slow dirt roads around the wetlands with our windows open – big mistake. At the end of the day there were about 80,000 mosquitoes in the car. The second time, we left the windows closed and made frequent stops to view the birds.

Art with scope

Amy with scope

Signs at the entrance of the wetlands provided information and explained the rules (stay on the roads, routes are one-way, 10MPH speed limit, etc). There was a sign asking for any Purple Gallinule sightings to be reported (we didn’t see any, unfortunately).

Viera Wetlands

During our visits we spotted just 30 different species, six of which were lifers. We also saw a few birds that are also present up here in Illinois. Some of these old friends are shown below; stay tuned for more in upcoming posts!

Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Great Egret
Great Egret


Eastern Meadowlark
Eastern Meadowlark

Pied-billed Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe

Share the birds, share the love!
Posted in Florida, Viera Wetlands | Leave a comment

Our six Viera lifers

Viera Wetlands
Typical scene at Viera Wetlands

At Viera Wetlands last week, out of the 30 species we saw, six were lifers.

The Crested Caracara seems to be a symbol of the wetlands as its image was on several of the navigational signs on the roads. Both times we visited, the Caracara was perched in the same tall tree. Both times, we had good looks in bad, bad light. This photo isn’t too hot, but I think that profile is unmistakable. What a beautiful bird!

Crested Caracara

This Least Bittern was lurking in the reeds but did pop out for some great looks and mediocre photos.

Least Bittern

We saw some groups of Mottled Ducks in a few of the ponds.

Mottled Ducks

The Summer Tanager we saw was beautiful, but the photo I got of it was not.

We saw lots of Black-belled Whistling Ducks flying overhead, but rarely saw them in the water – except for the one pictured below. It was totally posing for us! I think this was my favorite bird we saw in Florida. I love the colors on this bird – black, white, brown, taupe, and that bright orangey-red bill.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Finally, we added Loggerhead Shrike to our life list. We’ve actually seen this bird before, very badly, at the Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve in Kissimmee a couple of years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that we noticed it was not recorded on our list. We had really excellent views of a pair of shrikes flying between two trees just a few yards from the car.

Loggerhead Shrike

Share the birds, share the love!
Posted in Florida, Life List, Viera Wetlands | Leave a comment

Southern birds at Viera

Even though we didn’t have a lot of time to go birding while in Florida last week (and even though I’m stretching out those few hours of birding into many posts, ha ha!), it was so much fun to see birds we don’t normally get to see up here where we live. Here are some of the more southern species we saw at Viera Wetlands.

Viera Wetlands

Northern Mockingbirds range into northern Illinois and further during the summer, but we just don’t get to see them much here in Lake County. Once we got into Tennessee though, they were all over the place. They were hanging out at Viera Wetlands, too.

Northern Mockingbird

We only saw one Glossy Ibis at Viera, even though these are pretty common birds in Florida.

Glossy Ibis

We also just saw this one lovely Limpkin.


And some more of the usual Florida suspects…

Anhingas everywhere!

Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret

Tri-colored Heron
Tricolored Heron

… and lots of these guys

Coming up next… our six lifers at Viera. Stay tuned!

Share the birds, share the love!
Posted in Florida, Viera Wetlands | Leave a comment

Bird-a-Day Challenge 2014

Here we go again! In 2014 I’ll give the Bird-a-Day Challenge another go. This blog post from Audubon Magazine explains the challenge: Bird-A-Day Challenge Begins New Years Day 2012. I previously participated in 2013, 2012, and 2011. I sometimes post updates on my Bird-a-Day progress which you can follow on the blog.

26-APR-14 BUST! just prior to overseas journey
25-APR-14 Blackpoll Warbler Gemini Springs
24-APR-14 Worm-eating Warbler Mead Garden
23-APR-14 Eastern Kingbird Gemini Springs
22-APR-14 Rose-breasted Grosbeak back yard
21-APR-14 Glaucous Gull Lighthouse Point Park
20-APR-14 Red-tailed Hawk Deland
19-APR-14 Ruddy Turnstone Lighthouse Point Park
18-APR-14 American Redstart Gemini Springs
17-APR-14 Black-throated Blue Warbler Mead Garden
16-APR-14 American Coot Gemini Springs
15-APR-14 Red-shouldered Hawk back yard
14-APR-14 Gray Kingbird Gemini Springs
13-APR-14 Carolina Chickadee Spring-to-spring Trail
12-APR-14 Green Heron Gemini Springs
11-APR-14 Black-necked Stilt Gemini Springs
10-APR-14 Northern Waterthrush Mead Garden
09-APR-14 European Starling Lake Mary
08-APR-14 Swallow-tailed Kite Deland (along FL-472)
07-APR-14 Common Ground-Dove Gemini Springs
06-APR-14 Eastern Towhee Springview, DeBary
05-APR-14 Chuck-will’s-widow Blue Spring State Park
04-APR-14 Great Crested Flycatcher Gemini Springs
03-APR-14 Brown Thrasher Mead Garden
02-APR-14 Blue Jay back yard
01-APR-14 Eurasian Collared-Dove Magic Kingdom
31-MAR-14 Hooded Warbler Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens
30-MAR-14 Savannah Sparrow Gemini Springs
29-MAR-14 Barred Owl Lake Woodruff NWR
28-MAR-14 Little Blue Heron Blue Spring State Park
27-MAR-14 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Highlands Audubon Park
26-MAR-14 Prothonotary Warbler Gemini Springs
25-MAR-14 Red-eyed Vireo Green Spring
24-MAR-14 Northern Harrier Spruce Creek Park
23-MAR-14 Florida Scrub-Jay Lyonia Preserve
22-MAR-14 Common Yellowthroat Gemini Springs
21-MAR-14 Eastern Screech-Owl Spring-to-spring Trail
20-MAR-14 House Finch back yard
19-MAR-14 Pileated Woodpecker DeBary (along I-4)
18-MAR-14 Ring-billed Gull Home Depot
17-MAR-14 Northern Parula back yard
16-MAR-14 Fish Crow back yard
15-MAR-14 White Ibis Gemini Springs
14-MAR-14 Red-winged Blackbird back yard
13-MAR-14 Great Egret Kraft Azalea Garden
12-MAR-14 American Crow Gemini Springs
11-MAR-14 Bald Eagle Gemini Springs
10-MAR-14 Double-crested Cormorant Gemini Springs
09-MAR-14 Northern Shoveler Viera Wetlands
08-MAR-14 Blue-winged Teal Gemini Springs
07-MAR-14 Red-breasted Merganser Riverside Park, NSB
06-MAR-14 Northern Mockingbird Audubon Center for BOP
05-MAR-14 Black-and-white Warbler back yard
04-MAR-14 Mallard Animal Kingdom
03-MAR-14 Downy Woodpecker Gemini Springs
02-MAR-14 American Goldfinch Gemini Springs
01-MAR-14 Hooded Merganser Trout Lake
28-FEB-14 Lesser Yellowlegs Audubon Park
27-FEB-14 Limpkin Lake Monroe Park
26-FEB-14 Cooper’s Hawk Hollywood Studios
25-FEB-14 Chipping Sparrow Gemini Springs
24-FEB-14 House Wren Gemini Springs
23-FEB-14 Black-crowned Night Heron Gemini Springs
22-FEB-14 Cedar Waxwing Hontoon Island SP
21-FEB-14 Wilson’s Snipe Audubon Park
20-FEB-14 Glossy Ibis Gemini Springs
19-FEB-14 Pine Warbler Spring-to-spring Trail
18-FEB-14 Ruby-crowned Kinglet Gemini Springs
17-FEB-14 Swamp Sparrow Gemini Springs
16-FEB-14 Gadwall Lake Woodruff NWR
15-FEB-14 Vermilion Flycatcher* Orlando Wetlands Park
14-FEB-14 Iceland Gull Frank Rendon Park
13-FEB-14 American Kestrel Longwood (along I-4)
12-FEB-14 Blue-headed Vireo Gemini Springs
11-FEB-14 Tree Swallow Gemini Springs
10-FEB-14 Field Sparrow Gemini Springs
09-FEB-14 Orange-crowned Warbler Gemini Springs
08-FEB-14 Palm Warbler back yard
07-FEB-14 Yellow-throated Warbler Gemini Springs
06-FEB-14 Yellow-rumped Warbler back yard
05-FEB-14 Greater Yellowlegs Trout Lake, Deltona
04-FEB-14 Pied-billed Grebe Gemini Springs
03-FEB-14 Forster’s Tern Gemini Springs
02-FEB-14 Great Horned Owl Gemini Springs
01-FEB-14 White-eyed Vireo Gemini Springs
31-JAN-14 Common Grackle back yard
30-JAN-14 Belted Kingfisher Audubon Center for BOP
29-JAN-14 Ovenbird back yard
28-JAN-14 American Robin back yard
27-JAN-14 Audubon’s Shearwater pelagic out of Ponce
26-JAN-14 Eastern Phoebe back yard
25-JAN-14 Lesser Black-backed Gull Frank Rendon Park
24-JAN-14 Purple Gallinule Salt Lake WMA
23-JAN-14 American White Pelican Dicerandra Scrub Sanctuary
22-JAN-14 House Sparrow Epcot
21-JAN-14 Wood Stork Orlando (along I-4)
20-JAN-14 Marsh Wren Gemini Springs
19-JAN-14 American Bittern Gemini Springs
18-JAN-14 King Rail Gemini Springs
17-JAN-14 Gray Catbird Blue Spring State Park
16-JAN-14 Northern Flicker Audubon Center for BOP
15-JAN-14 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Blue Spring SP
14-JAN-14 Painted Bunting back yard
13-JAN-14 Prairie Warbler Gemini Springs
12-JAN-14 Ruddy Duck Lake Woodruff NWR
11-JAN-14 Wild Turkey DeBary (along I-4)
10-JAN-14 Sora Gemini Springs
09-JAN-14 Ring-necked Duck Audubon Center for BOP
08-JAN-14 Bonaparte’s Gull Lighthouse Point Park
07-JAN-14 Sandhill Crane Blue Spring SP
06-JAN-14 Peregrine Falcon Spruce Creek Park
05-JAN-14 Caspian Tern Gemini Springs
04-JAN-14 Cattle Egret Sanford (along I-4)
03-JAN-14 Ruby-throated Hummingbird front yard
02-JAN-14 Wood Duck Audubon Center for BOP
01-JAN-14 Horned Grebe Tomoka State Park

* indicates life bird

Share the birds, share the love!
Leave a comment

Herpetology Life List

This is my attempt at keeping a life list of reptiles and amphibians (the study of which is called herpetology) I have identified. At this point it’s a photo life list, since I have little skill at identifying herps in the field, and rely on photos for confirmation. Maybe that will change, but for now — this is a start. Since this is *my* list, I make the rules… You may see some dead specimens shown / listed here. I’m going to include deceased and/or ill wild-found specimen on my “life list” — at least for now. If you spot a mis-ID, please contact me or leave a comment on this page.

Eastern Rat Snake
Florida Water Snake
Southern Black Racer
Peninsula Ribbon Snake
Common Garter Snake
Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake
Eastern Corn Snake
Southern Ringneck Snake
De Kay’s Brown Snake
Smooth Greensnake
Bluestripe Garter Snake
Florida Banded Water Snake
Rough Green Snake
Florida Green Watersnake
Scarlet Kingsnake
Coral Snake
California Red-sided Garter Snake
NEW! Glossy Crayfish Snake
NEW! Water Moccasin

Turtles & Tortoises
Common Snapping Turtle
Red-eared Slider
Gopher Tortoise
Florida Red-bellied Cooter
Striped Mud Turtle
Penninsula Cooter
Florida Box Turtle

Frogs & Toads
Cuban Tree Frog
Southern Toad
Northern Leopard Frog
Northern Green Frog
Oak Toad
American Bullfrog
Southern Leopard Frog

Lizards & Salamanders
Six Lined Racerunner
Eastern Glass Lizard
Eastern Fence Lizard
Southeastern Five-lined Skink
American Alligator
House Gecko sp.
Green Anole
Green Iguana
Broad-headed Skink
Northern Curlytail Lizard

rat snake
Eastern Rat Snake | Spring-to-spring Trail, Volusia County FL | 01 April 2013 [previous]

Cuban Tree Frog
Cuban Tree Frog (invasive) | Spring-to-spring Trail, Volusia County FL | 13 March 2012

Florida Water Snake [Nerodia fasciata pictiventris] 1/3
Florida Water Snake [Nerodia fasciata pictiventris] | Viera Wetlands, Melbourne, Brevard County FL | 10 March 2012

Six Lined Racerunner
Six Lined Racerunner | Lyonia Preserve, Deltona, Volusia County FL | 24 March 2012

Southern Black Racer
Southern Black Racer | Gemini Springs, Volusia County FL | 11 October 2013 || juveniles look different [previous]

Common Snapping Turtle
Common Snapping Turtle | Prairie Wolf Slough, Lake County IL | 16 July 2013 [previous]

Southern Toad
Southern Toad | Maitland, Orange County FL | 05 April 2012

Peninsula Ribbon Snake
Peninsula Ribbon Snake | Gemini Springs, Volusia County FL | 10 April 2012

Red-eared Slider
Red-eared Slider | Gemini Springs, Volusia County FL | 13 April 2012

Gopher Tortoise | Gemini Springs, Volusia County FL | 28 December 2012 [previous]

Florida red-bellied cooter
Florida Red-bellied Cooter [note notched upper jaw] | Gemini Springs, Volusia County FL | 30 April 2012

Common Garter Snake
Common Garter Snake | Prairie Wolf Slough, Lake County IL | 8 May 2012

Striped Mud Turtle
Striped Mud Turtle | Spring-to-spring Trail, Volusia County FL | 26 May 2012

Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake | Lake Monroe C.A., Kratzert Tract, Volusia County FL | 27 June 2012

Eastern Corn Snake
Eastern Corn Snake | Clark Bay Conservation Area, Volusia County FL | 18 July 2012

Eastern Glass Lizard 2/3
Eastern Glass Lizard | Gemini Springs, Volusia County FL | 08 September 2012

Southern Ringneck Snake
Southern Ringneck Snake | DeBary Hall, Volusia County FL | 17 September 2012

Eastern Fence Lizard
Eastern Fence Lizard | Clearwater Lake Recreation Area, Ocala National Forest, Lake County FL | 28 September 2012

De Kay’s Brown Snake
De Kay’s Brown Snake (1) | Lake County IL | 11 October 2012 [another]

Smooth Greensnake
Smooth Greensnake (2) | Middlefork Savanna, Lake County IL | 16 October 2012

Southeastern Five-lined Skink
Southeastern Five-lined Skink | Gemini Springs, Volusia County FL | 18 September 2012

Northern Leopard Frog
Northern Leopard Frog | Rollins Savanna, Lake County IL | 15 October 2012

Northern Green Frog
Northern Green Frog | Rollins Savanna, Lake County IL | 15 October 2012

Bluestripe Garter Snake
Bluestripe Garter Snake | Spring-to-spring Trail, Volusia County FL | 05 December 2012

American Alligator
American Alligator | Circle B Bar Reserve, Polk County FL | 25 December 2012

Peninsula Cooter
Peninsula Cooter | Circle B Bar Reserve, Polk County FL | 25 December 2012

sea turtle
Green Sea Turtle | Ponce Inlet, Volusia County FL | 12 December 2012

Florida Box Turtle
Florida Box Turtle | our back yard, DeBary, Volusia County FL | 04 May 2013

House Gecko sp
House Gecko sp | our garage, DeBary, Volusia County FL | 28 May 2013

Oak Toad
Oak Toad | Palm Bluff Conservation Area, Volusia County FL | 09 June 2013

American Bullfrog
American Bullfrog | Half Day Preserve, Lake County IL | 22 July 2013

Florida Banded Water Snake
Florida Banded Water Snake [wild snake being handled/moved] | Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, Orange County FL | 10 October 2013

Southern Leopard Frog
Southern Leopard Frog | Gemini Springs, Volusia County FL | 01 October 2013

Green Anole
Green Anole (Carolina Anole) | Gemini Springs, Volusia County FL | 04 October 2013

Green Iguana (non-native; invasive) | Crane Point, Monroe County FL | 07 December 2013

Rough Green Snake {Opheodrys aestivus}Rough Green Snake | our yard, DeBary, Volusia County FL | 22 October 2014

Florida Green Watersnake
Florida Green Watersnake | Gemini Springs, Volusia County FL | 20 February 2014

Broad-headed Skink
Broad-headed Skink | Blue Spring State Park, Volusia County FL | 22 April 2014 [also]

Northern Curlytail Lizard (Leiocephalus carinatus armouri)
Northern Curlytail Lizard | Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Palm Beach County FL | 20 February 2014

Scarlet Kingsnake
Scarlet Kingsnake | Gemini Springs, Volusia County FL | 18 September 2013

Coral Snake
Coral Snake | Haines City, Polk County FL | 24 September 2015

California Red-sided Gartersnake
California Red-sided Garter Snake | Yosemite NP, California | 28 August 2017

Glossy Crayfish Snake
Glossy Crayfish Snake | Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, Orange Co. Florida | 17 June 2018

Water Moccasin / Cottonmouth [Agkistrodon piscivorus]
Water Moccasin / Cottonmouth [Agkistrodon piscivorus] | Ocmulgee National Monument, Macon Georgia | 27 August 2018

(1) later died of injuries
(2) deceased

Share the birds, share the love!

Preening Roseate Spoonbill

Earlier this month Arthur and I visited Viera Wetlands and the nearby Click Ponds. I had read a lot about the Click Ponds this summer, especially since they hosted some great birds in July and August, but we couldn’t get out there until September 8th. One of our best birds was a very cooperative Roseate Spoonbill, an individual that gave us our best looks ever of this magnificent species. We used our car as a blind and watched the bird preen, feed, and loaf around.

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

After a marathon preening session the bird fed in the shallow water. It’s always fun to watch spoonbills feed in their unique way. They move their heads back and forth with their long bills in the water; when something to eat comes in contact with the bill – snap!

Roseate Spoonbill

And later it was time for even more preening. 🙂

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

I’ve submitted this post to this week’s Bird Photography Weekly. BPW is a regular collection of user-submitted bird photos from all over the world. The new edition comes out every Sunday. Go have a look at this week’s submissions!

Share the birds, share the love!
Posted in Behavior, Bird Photography Weekly, Florida, Viera Wetlands | 3 Comments

BPW: Baby Limpkin

While house-hunting in central Florida a few months ago, Arthur and I saved some time for birding at Viera Wetlands. The highlight of our visit on April 27 was seeing this baby Limpkin.

Baby Limpkin

Although Limpkins seem very rail-like, they are more closely related to cranes. If you can’t tell from its looks, you might notice the resemblance in its song, which sounds a lot like a Sandhill Crane.

Baby Limpkin

Limpkins are residents through much of Florida. Elsewhere in the United States, their range pokes a bit into southern Georgia. They are also found in Cuba and other Caribbean islands, and through parts of Central America. Their wide distribution through Florida makes them one of the state’s specialties for visiting birders.

Baby Limpkin

Unlike other (wading) birds with whom they may share feeding grounds, Limpkins survive almost exclusively on a diet of apple snails. We didn’t get to see this baby eat, but it was a lot of fun to watch him preening.

Baby Limpkin

This baby Limpkin was being closely attended by two adults, but I was so smitten by its cuteness that I failed to take any photos of the parents or of the whole family together. Whoops!

Bird Photography Weekly is a regular collection of user-submitted bird photos from all over the world. The new edition comes out every Sunday. Go have a look at this week’s submissions!

Share the birds, share the love!
Posted in Bird Photography Weekly, Florida, Viera Wetlands | Leave a comment