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

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