Viera Wetlands

This past weekend I made another trip over to the Viera Wetlands where I met up with Jess Yarnell and Donna Faylo. The Click Ponds are still teeming with shorebirds, so I wanted to try my luck with them again. I had hoped to get some images of the Wilson’s Phalarope, and while we did see 2 of them, they were too far out for a mere 400mm.

The morning started off with one of the ponds hosting 50 Sandhill Cranes, 4 Roseate Spoonbills, a dozen Wood Storks, and countless Black-necked Stilts, Stilt Sandpipers, Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, and Mottled Ducks. There was also an Egyptian Goose there, but he took off before I could get the camera out and pointed at him. That’s probably for the best as the sun had not topped the trees yet and he was a ways out in the pond.

After the sun did start to light up the pond, the exodus began. First we had the Spoonies take off, but they went away from us. Then, one by one, different birds made a pass in our direction. First to come by was a Wood Stork.

Wood Stork

Next, a Black-necked Stilt made a flyby.

Black-necked Stilt

Then a Mottled Duck.

Mottled Duck

Finally, the Sandhill Cranes started to head out to feed. Most flew away from us, but a few graced us with great opportunities.

Sandhill Crane

It would have been great if all 50 cranes took off at the same time. What a great image that would have been. But they took off in twos and threes over the course of about 30 minutes. The ones that hadn’t left yet continued to squabble with each other. They would have quick disagreements over something and then go back to picking through the grass for breakfast morsels.

Squabbling Sandhill Cranes

I took a walk between the two ponds to get a better look at the American Avocets. For the second week in a row, they stayed in the dead center of the pond where it was nearly impossible to get any decent images of them. I was able to watch a Black Tern feeding in the pond. I was a bit too far away for a really sharp image, but I do like this one.

Black Tern

The Black-necked Stilts were everywhere. It’s hard to pass up an opportunity for a good reflection capture.

Black-necked Stilt

I also found some Queen butterflies while I was walking around. Sometimes I don’t spend enough time and attention on small subjects like this.

Queen Butterfly

Although it was sweltering out there, I was pretty happy to come home with 3 life birds (Black Tern, Egyptian Goose and Wilson’s Phalarope). I would have loved to have made more images, but you take what God gives you.

This will be the last Florida post for a while. Our next stop is Chincoteague, VA for a family reunion. I’m hopeful I’ll come back with a couple of cards full of wildlife and family images. Hopefully we’ll have great weather, and maybe, just maybe, the heat will subside for a few days. One can hope, right?

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