Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands, aka Viera Wetlands

About a half an hour south of Merritt Island is a quiet community called Viera.  Rich with zero-lot housing, shopping villages, and golf courses, it’s not really the sort of place you’d expect to find a great little wildlife preserve. But they’ve managed to take a water reclamation facility and turn it into a habitat for alligators, turtles, otters, and native and migratory birds such as blue-winged teals, hooded mergansers, terns and even caracaras. I’ve been out there perhaps a dozen times so far (and plan to make a lot more trips in the future) and I am always pleased by what I see. As far as I’m concerned, the Viera Wetlands is a much better wildlife-watching destination than other nearby, more well-known areas such as Merritt Island’s Blackpoint Wildlife Drive. Here is a small sampling of things I’ve seen.  Enjoy!

Click on the image for a larger view.

Anhinga with chicks

Sandhill Crane

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Great Blue Herons on Nest

Limpkin with a snack

~ by JenGrace on April 18, 2010.

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