V141. Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands at Viera (Viera Wetlands)
SiteID: E141 (new)
Nearest City: Viera
Phone Number: 321-637-5521
Features/Amenities: Restrooms, Good for beginners, Birding by car, Birding by foot/hiking, Birding by bicycle, Best time of day: All day, Recommended length of visit: all day br>
Habitats: Freshwater Marsh/Wetlands, Field/Pasture, Lake/Pond/Impoundment
Known to most birders simply as Viera Wetlands, this water treatment facility offers exceptional birding by car, foot or bicycle. Pick up a map and checklist and peruse the sightings log at the entrance kiosk. One of the star attractions is the Crested Caracara (which nests here); check the sabal palms and pines near the start of the loop drive and along the wetland perimeter. Drive the impoundment roads around the four shallow-water cells (follow the designated traffic flow and do not block the roadways), scanning for waterfowl such as American Coot, Wood Duck, Northern Pintail and Hooded Merganser. Sought-after waterbirds like Least Bittern, King Rail, Limpkin, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Black-necked Stilt and Purple Gallinule make this a popular destination for birders and photographers. Shorebird diversity is outstanding – unusual finds include American Golden-Plover, Upland Sandpiper and Buff-breasted Sandpiper. Two observation towers provide excellent views (a spotting scope is useful). Keep an eye out for raptors such as Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Cooper’s Hawk and the occasional Snail Kite. Other rarities spotted here include Masked Duck and Mangrove Swallow. Butterfly enthusiasts should check the demonstration garden by the gazebo and the shoreline along the central lake, which is seeded with wildflowers. Call ahead to check for possible road closures; the dirt impoundment roads may close following inclement weather. A second group of ponds (locally known as the “Dan Click Ponds” or “Duda Ponds”) can be accessed from a dirt road on the north side of Wickham Rd., across from the main entrance. The outer perimeter of these ponds can be birded by car or foot. Shorebirds may be seen here in most of the year; ducks winter here also.
Directions: From I-95 north of Melbourne, take exit 191 for CR 509/ Wickham Rd. and head west for 2.2 mi. The entrance is on the left (south) side. The entrance to the Dan Click Ponds is located on the right (north) side of Wickham Rd., 50 yds. east of the main entrance. Go north for 60 yds., then turn left (west) and drive 70 yds. Turn right (north) to access the ponds.
Open April to September, 6 AM to 8 PM; February, March and October, 7 AM to 7 PM; November to January, 7 AM to 6 PM.
Location: 28.229476, -80.754998