Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Something different at the Viera wetlands

In a pose I have never seen, an egret sticks its head under the water in search of fish while flying along at full speed.

Grackles howl at the moon from the top of a palm tree stump.

I was driving through Viera on Monday when I decided on a whim to drive through the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands, a man-made habitat for birds, alligators and other critters. The land is nourished by treated wastewater from a nearby facility.

The sanctuary is popular during this time of year. It consists of a series of connected dirt roads along several different "cells" of water, particular ones of which are usually dominated by a certain species. I suspect that a combination of the snowbirds being back in full force and the holiday week made this Monday a busy day for birdwatchers and photographers at the wetlands.

I came away with a bit of a different look at the wildlife there from the first time I visited the habitat.

An American bittern takes off among high water grass, which browns this time of year.

A gallinule swims among some sort of red algae.

This coot decided to join the feeding frenzy.

The moon hangs in a brilliant blue sky. Speaking of blue and moon: There will be a blue moon on New Year's Eve, the first New Year's blue moon since 1990.

I got about five feet from this anhinga.

The sun goes down.

A grackle at twilight, with a tower featuring lightning detectors in the background.

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