Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cruising the Viera Wetlands, Part 4

To wrap up the Viera trip I will include a few extra shots of birds and last minute snaps.

There was another Moorhen family hanging to the edges of the cells with even younger chicks in tow.

Common Moorhen

The Boat-tailed Grackles were browsing the edges of almost every cell but they really seemed to like the lily pads.

Boat-tailed Grackle

However, they also hung out in the reeds.

Boat-tailed Grackle

We were wrapping up our tour of the wetlands so I decided to make the most of my IS lens test and jumped out of the car to get some test shots of other things besides birds. Since I was close to the Grackles and lilies, why not?


I didn't even notice until I got home and looked at the shots that this excellent metallic green bee was in one shot. By the way, if you drag these images to your desktop you will be able to view the images at twice the size seen here.


I was really impressed with the result from the IS with this Duck Potato flower.

Duck Potato

Finally, time to chase dragonflies! There were skittish versions in blue...


...and red!


Despite the copious swarms of bugs, we had a great time and came home with a bunch of great photos. Next trip will be in the Winter when the mosquitoes are few and the ducks are plentiful.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cruising the Viera Wetlands, Part 3

During my early visits to Viera Wetlands I found a lot of birds in the Winter but I don't recall ever seeing any Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. The past couple of years, though, they have been all over the place!

I love these little ducks and we were lucky enough see them up close as they waded and flew over head. In fact, they were flying across the sky as soon as we drove into the entry of the wetlands.

Over in the bird gathering we discovered earlier there were several ducks keeping to themselves or flying from spot to spot.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

You would think these guys could get along as they are of the same stripe but sometimes squabbles would erupt!

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Time for a test of the IS lens with flight shots. The ducks would circle several times before coming to rest and often flew right over my head.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Even at a distance, those white wing feathers really pop out.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

I had a great time hanging with the Black-bellies and could have burned through tons of shots.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

However, we had more water to explore. It seems that this species will be here for some time to come. So I will end Part 3 here and finish up the tour with a few more birds and other nature next.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cruising the Viera Wetlands, Part 2

Part 2 of this Viera Wetlands trip will focus on herons and the like as there were plenty around.

First up was a nice close view of a Great-blue Heron watching closely for its next meal.

Great Blue Heron

Around the bend we found a great concentration of birds in one spot. Many herons, woodpeckers, and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (which will get their own entry in Part 3) but I loved this view of a Great Egret in the trees high above the rest of the group.

Great Egret

The reduced size for the blog doesn't do it justice but there was another along the way that allowed a much closer opportunity.

Great Egret

Beneath the first Great Egret I heard a familiar sound. A Red-bellied Woodpecker was moving up and down the palm trunk.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Ugly to some, beautiful to me. Wood Storks always grab my attention where ever I find them.

Wood Stork

Often overlooked, the Tri-colored Herons were abundant in several areas of the wetlands.

Tri-colored Heron

Just when I thought we would strike out on the resident Limpkins we found one quietly moving through the reeds.


End Part 2. Next up, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cruising the Viera Wetlands, Part 1

For the first time in a long time I headed out for an actual birding day. We had hoped to view the shuttle launch before dawn but it was scrubbed for a second time due to a hydrogen leak.

Oh, well. Off to find some birds at Viera Wetlands. There are a lot of photos to share so I think I will split this up into several installments.

Met up with a long-time friend, Cindy Nowlin, who was kind enough to let me borrow her IS lens for a couple of spins around the cells. Maybe it was more of a sales pitch because after using it compared to my normal lens (which I bought from her years ago), man...

Mosquitoes were fierce today, but not far into the drive there was a great chance to view the first Least Bittern of the morning.

Least Bittern

Nearby, a White Ibis in full breeding colors kept a close watch on our cars cruising by.

White Ibis

Some bird chicks were still in evidence and were well represented by Common Moorhens pecking at the vegetation as they headed toward their parents.

Common Moorhen

Perhaps to stay far enough away from the jaws of predators like this alligator.


Thus ends Part 1. Tomorrow, I will show off the herons.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Quoth the Raven...

O.K. Not really a Raven since we don't get those, but there was a seldom seen lurker in the backyard today.

Out there in the gloom was a pair of Fish Crows sampling the stale crackers I threw out and one was gently dipping a piece into the blue bird bath.

Fish Crow

Fish Crows are often heard around the neighborhood but they rarely drop to the ground to feed. At least when I have been around. Who knows, they could be out there having a party every time I turn my back!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Carolina Wrens and Fungus Invasion

There was an unusual Carolina Wren event during our banding day along with many varieties of fungus showing up as processed some birds.

Head to the Wekiva blog here to see if you can help ID some fungus.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Lake Lotus Banding, June 7th

We headed into the dark and noticed the landmarks that usually guide us were...gone. However, this turned out to be a good thing in the big picture.

Head to the Wekiva blog here to see the whole report.