A Visit to the Viera Wetlands

Recent opportunities to exercise my camera have been rare, but this past Saturday I was able to get out to the Viera Wetlands for a morning of photography. I love getting to the wetlands before dawn when the great blue herons are nesting. They provide some awesome silhouettes when the clouds and sun are just right. This particular morning was no exception. It seems that the herons are already quite interested in starting the next generation of little herons. Click the images to view larger.

Great Blue Herons - Viera Wetlands
Great Blue Herons – Viera Wetlands

As the sun got a little higher, the colors changed and one of the herons graced me with my favorite heron pose. The trees the herons nest in allow for both a silhouette image as shown above and below and a wonderful opportunity just minutes later from the other side of the nest as seen here. It’s no wonder I like the herons at Viera!!

Great Blue Heron - Viera Wetlands
Great Blue Heron – Viera Wetlands
Great Blue Herons - Viera Wetlands
Great Blue Herons – Viera Wetlands

Once the sun got up, it quickly went behind the clouds and I changed my focus to a very cooperative belted kingfisher. There is a particular perch that she likes to visit that is fairly close for some great photos. Kingfishers are notorious for keeping their distance from any cameras, but this female seems not to have read that memo.

Belted Kingfisher - Viera Wetlands
Belted Kingfisher – Viera Wetlands

I took very few shots this morning, but I did enjoy the company of several of my friends who showed up throughout the morning to see what opportunities might be available. If the sun is behind the clouds, it’s great to have a bunch of friends shooting with you to pass the time. At one point there were 10 or more photographers lined up waiting for the kingfisher to return. Photography is a very expensive hobby and there was no less than $100,000 worth of equipment lined up on the berm waiting for one bird to make her appearance. I wish I had thought to sneak off to the side and snap a iPhone shot of all of us. Next time!

On my way out I came across a cooperative american bittern. These elusive heron-like birds are rarely out in the open, so when one presents itself in a somewhat unobstructed view, you have to take advantage of it!!

American Bittern - Viera Wetlands
American Bittern – Viera Wetlands

The holidays are a busy time of year and photography opportunities will continue to be sparse for me, but I’m already looking forward to my next outing to the Viera Wetlands!!


  • Debbie Tubridy

    December 7, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Awesome images Michael!
    I need to get up to Viera … drove by several times in the last bit, but on the move. Hate it when that happens. 🙂 Hope to shoot again with you guys some day soon.

    • Michael

      December 8, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      We would love to see you and Tom up here, Debbie. I hope you’ll have more time to shoot with us the next time you’re coming through town.

  • Jess Yarnell

    December 7, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    love the sunrise shots! I’m sorry I missed it

    • Michael

      December 8, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      Thanks, Jess!! It was easier to get these without having to shoot around someone. 🙂

  • Donna Faylo

    December 8, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    It was a fun morning with lots of good friends, even though you “picked on me” the whole time there.

    • Michael

      December 8, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      That’s not true, Donna! I didn’t pick on you while you went off to chase the kingfisher for us. 🙂 Thanks for being a good sport and I promise to go easier on you next time!

  • Kevan Sunderland

    December 16, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Michael sure enjoy your website!! Nice seeing and shooting with you.

    • Michael

      December 17, 2014 at 8:14 am

      Thanks, Kevan! It was great to see you Saturday as well! I hope to see more of you once you reach the magic date in April!

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