A New Mexican in Florida-Part I

I am 62 years old, and until I attended the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival this year I had never been to Florida. I was beside myself with anticipation as I boarded my plane for the Sunshine State. After flight delays, flying through a storm, renting a car in the middle of the night and driving through the remnants of the storm, I finally made it to Titusville in my Nissan Cube at 1:30 a.m. I was a New Mexican in Florida, and I was ready for a birding festival.

The first thing that I signed up for was a tour of the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands at Viera, more commonly known as the Viera Wetlands. When I arrived at 5:30 a.m. I was barely conscious. I did not remember to adjust my camera at all, so most of my photographs are not very good. I did, however, manage to take a few photos that are recognizable as birds.

It was a cold, sunny morning at Viera. A busload of birders shivered in the early morning cold.

Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands.

A cold morning at Viera Wetlands.

As the day got warmer, I was able to enjoy the beautiful scenery, which is quite exotic to someone from New Mexico.

Viera Wetlands.

Beautiful Florida sunshine.

I saw birds that I had never seen before. My favorite was the Limpkin.

Limpkin at Viera Wetlands.


Limpkin, Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands.

Limpkin, another view.

And there were other new birds as well.

An Anhinga sunning on a cabbage palm stump

An Anhinga sunning on a cabbage palm stump

I also saw White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, American Bittern, Palm Warblers, Eastern Phoebe, Common Yellowthroat, and a Red-shouldered Hawk, all of which are not found in New Mexico. My photos of these are not good enough to share.

I was pleased to see old friends in a new location.

Great Egret at Viera Wetlands.

Great Egret

Great Egret at Viera Wetlands.

Great Egret, another view

Double-crested Cormorants, Viera Wetlands.

Double-crested Cormorants

Sandhill Crane, Viera Wetlands.

Sandhill Crane

Green Heron, Viera Wetlands.

Green Heron

And a first for this New Mexican: an alligator in the wild. Can you see him in the vegetation?

American Alligator, Viera Wetlands.

American Alligator

By the afternoon I had returned to semi-consciousness, and I had remembered to adjust my camera. I was in Florida, and I was ready to see more birds! Stay tuned.

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Filed under Florida birds

8 responses to “A New Mexican in Florida-Part I

  1. Fabulous record of your journey – love all the birds and the photos… Thanks for sharing

  2. Wonderful! Looking forward to more!!!

  3. Scott

    Nice. I like the cormorants in formation. Hawaii, Florida! Keep up the good work 🙂 Neat to see the Anhinga and the Limpkin.

  4. Yippeee… look at all those life birdies you got…and a life State too!
    It was so much fun!!

    • I had a wonderful time, and it was lovely to see you and Darling Jeff again. Hope you’re enjoying the warm Florida sunshine while we’re preparing for another storm.

  5. Wonderful post! I love the Florida wildlife … so very different than what I see here in the midwest. Terrific in flight images! Love the Limpkin too.

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