Saturday, November 19, 2005

Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival 5

We set off for Viera Wetlands via exit 191 off 95 south. We looked for Crested Caracara at Temple Israel near the roundabout but didn't see any of the raptors.

After signing in at the wetlands, however, we did see or hear Crested Caracara as well as White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Anhinga, Little Blue Heron, Sandhill Crane, Roseate Spoonbill(!) in flight, Tricolored Heron (which I spied hidden in the pond--go me!), Northern Harrier, Green Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Shoveler, Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot, Great Egret, Killdeer, Loggerhead Shrike, Greater Yellowlegs, Common Moorhen, Blue-winged Teal, Canvasback, Mourning Dove, Palm Warbler, Mottled Duck and Red-shouldered Hawk displaying the white crescent mentioned in Jeff Bouton's raptor workshop the previous day.

A few alligators showed us their heads, while one young 'un displayed its entire body. One large gator tried to catch a coot in its jaws; I unfortunately didn't see the action, dangnabbit. (That's another "digibinned" photo, so please forgive the soft focus.)

We watched at least three Bald Eagles in the first half hour at the wetlands. One mottled-looking juvenile perched atop the three poles in the upper right of the large picture above, returning to the poles after hunting American Coots. We didn't see it capture a meal but enjoyed observing its dives.

We got to watch a Great Blue Heron kill and eat most of a snake before spying an American Kestrel on the neighboring sod farm. After driving to a mobile home park, we watched beautiful Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks eating cracked corn in a resident's front yard. That scene concluded our field trip and prompted me to find lunch ASAP.

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