Friday, April 10, 2020

Viera Wetlands Storage Ponds - Florida

In January 2018, while visiting Florida for a legal seminar, I researched a number of places to do some bird watching. The Viera Wetlands ended up on my list. One of the things that attracted me was that several people said that there was a nesting caracara nearby, I bird I'd never seen. The Viera Wetlands are located in Central Florida, near the Atlantic Ocean, directly west of Patrick Air Force Base on Cape Canaveral, and west of the I-95. Viera is a master planned community nearby. 

It is a 200 acre property (much less than the 1,267 acre Circle Bar B Reserve) divided into four cells and separated by berms. Northwest of the Wetlands are two storage ponds that attract a lot of wintering waterfowl, particularly shorebirds. I mention the storage ponds because that is where I ended up. My directions on Google maps led me to a place that looked nothing like wetlands, but driving around a bit I found a road that said "Viera Wetlands Storage Ponds," and thought I'd arrived. 
It was two large storage ponds separated in the middle by a berm. At the time I wondered what all the excitement was about. And I did see several other cars bird watching like I was. It wasn't until doing this post that I realized I missed the much larger Wetlands which were further west and on the other side of the road. Now when I go back to Florida I'm going to have to go back and visit the right place. 
231. Viera Wetlands, Viera, Florida
The storage ponds are identified as "Click Ponds" on the map. 
One benefit of the small area was that I was able to get close to the birds, something that is often not possible in a much larger venue. Given the limited area, I still did see quite a few birds, several I saw nowhere else in several days of bird watching. The birds I saw were as follows:
It is by far the best place for seeing green herons I've ever been. I saw quite a few. 
Another green heron.
It was also the only place I saw red-winged blackbirds. 

I got very close to a great egret.

And saw a couple of snowy egrets. 

I also got very close to some white ibis.

Only one of two boat-tailed grackles I've seen. 
And only the third loggerhead shrike I've ever seen. 
Little blue heron. I also saw several great blue herons I did not take photos of. 
An anhinga or American darter.
And finally, a myrtle warbler, the only one I've ever seen. 

1 comment:

  1. My favorite of these photos is the first one of the green heron. Gorgeous.