On November 18th, I visited the Viera Wetlands, also known as the Ritch Grissom Memorial Park. I started out as usual, taking a cruise around the clickponds, and missed the Great Cormorant, who was presumably, fishing out in the lakes somewhere. There were certainly plenty of Double-Crested Cormorants to go around, along with Egrets of several types, and Great Blue Herons. the White and Glossy Ibis were also present. I didn’t look out in the sod fields, since they were busy cutting and rolling.
I then took my usual tour de wetlands, and was happy to find a Gadwall, first thing. It got better from there as I cruised around seeing Hooded Mergansers, Kestrals, Northern Shovelers, Pintail Ducks, Black-Crowned Night Herons squabbling, Caracara, Red Shouldered Hawks, Northern Harriers, and Bald Eagles to name a few species. I also heard least bitterns, and what I believe to be some kind of rail (it was a loud clapping sound).
The otters were interesting. As I turned down the road, I saw what I thought was just something in the road, maybe an alligator. When I got my binoculars on them I realized, they were young otters sleeping. Very cute! They appear to have mange, a typical canine problem, and I’m interested to find out more about this condition with these wild otters. In canids, there are two typical types of mange; demodectic and sarcoptic. Demodex mange is often an indicator of low immune system function, and is only manageable long term through healthy diet, and increased overall health. Sarcoptic mange is a mite which is easily treatable by injection, and often not found to cover large areas, like what I saw on these otters. I have to wonder if the water quality is affecting their overall health.
I’ve been having some camera issues. Mainly, the quality of my shots, regardless of my attention to technique, settings, and lens and camera overall is not there. There is no sharpness to my images, and I think even the light balance is drastically off. I’m working on a solution. Hoepfully it won’t mean a send in to Nikon. If so, I may be out of a camera for quite some time.