Viera Wetlands

Visits to the Viera Wetlands have been very productive for me over the last couple of years and my visit yesterday was no exception. I didn’t expect much in the way of spectacular sunrises since fog was expected. The fog rolled in about 45 minutes before sunrise which limited opportunities for the first couple of hours that I visited. But I still came away with some images worth sharing. Click the images to view larger.

While we have all heard of a rainbow, have you ever heard of a fog bow? It seems that when the fog is beginning to burn off, you can position yourself with the sun to your back and can usually spot a fog bow forming in the distance. There is no color in a fog bow because the water droplets are much smaller than the water droplets found in a rainbow. The physics are the same as a rainbow, but the smaller water droplet sizes make the colors more difficult to see. If you want to learn more, check out this Wikipedia article here.

Here is a panorama of the fog bow I took with my iPhone.

Fogbow - Viera Wetlands
Fogbow – Viera Wetlands

Upon arriving at the Viera Wetlands this time of year, I usually focus on photographing the nesting great blue herons against the rising sun. However, the presence of fog pretty much killed any sunrise. So when life hands you a lemon of a sunrise, you move on to another subject. And that subject would be a very cooperative peregrine falcon. The fog made for difficult shooting for a while, but it eventually cleared enough that I could get some beautiful images. This falcon was present in the Viera Wetlands last December and always seems to like this particular perch for sunrise.

Peregrine Falcon - Viera Wetlands
Peregrine Falcon – Viera Wetlands

There were several of us lined up photographing the falcon when she took off after her breakfast. I kept an eye on her as she flew around the wetlands and noticed that she was headed back to the same perch. I was fortunate enough to capture 2 frames of her approach back to her favorite perch.

Peregrine Falcon - Viera Wetlands
Peregrine Falcon – Viera Wetlands
Peregrine Falcon - Viera Wetlands
Peregrine Falcon – Viera Wetlands

While watching the falcon and waiting for some excitement, Jess spotted a pair of american bitterns out in the open. These elusive birds are rarely out in the open, preferring to skulk in the reeds and vegetation while they hunt for their next meal. To find one out in the open is a wonderful opportunity. To find two out at the same place suggests it is time to go buy a lottery ticket. Unfortunately we didn’t see the second one until the first one flew off, so there are no photos of the two together.

American Bittern - Viera Wetlands
American Bittern – Viera Wetlands

Although the usual nesting sites for the great blue herons are somewhat quiet this year, there are other nests nearby that are active. While waiting for the peregrine to thrill us with some activity, we took advantage of a pair of herons that were busy building a home for the next generation. This will be a fun nest to photograph in the weeks to come once the eggs are laid and the chicks hatch.

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

Of course after any substantial home makeover, the male is rewarded with a loving series of kisses.

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

This is my favorite time of year at the Viera Wetlands and I’m looking forward to my next visit.

2 Comments

  • Margaret Kelly

    December 30, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Always enjoy your photography. I couldn’t even pick out a favorite for this month. Just wanted to thank you for sharing.

    • Michael

      December 30, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      Thank you so much, Margaret! Happy New Year!