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Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Wordless Wednesday

A Duck Minute
A Duck Minute

Greater Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs

Great Egret
Great Egret

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron

Tricolored Heron 2
Tricolored Heron 2

Wood Stork
Wood Stork

White Pelicans
White Pelicans

White Pelican 2
White Pelican 2

Alligator
Alligator

Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret

Black Point Drive
Black Point Drive

On the water along Black Point Drive
On the water along Black Point Drive

Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail

Emeralda Marsh

So close to us. We are so blessed. And so is all of Florida — it is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. I will simply provide photos of the beauty there.

Looking into the darkness
Looking into the darkness we see nothing

Haven't spotted anything this time
Haven’t spotted anything this time

Up a tree?
Up a tree?

Something blooming all the time...
But there is something blooming or fruiting all the time…

Do I hear something?
Do I hear something?

Osprey have built their nest
Osprey have set up a nest, but are quiet

Swallow tail kite circling over head
Swallow tail kite is circling over head without a sound

Butterflies so delicate on the wind
Butterflies so delicate on the wind

Ah, the hunter approaches
Ah, the hunter approaches

Pelicans take off without a sound
Pelicans take off without a sound

 

Florida Birding at Merritt Island

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge shares space with Kennedy Space Center and other coastal features on the north Atlantic coast of Florida. It is about 2 hours drive from our abode.

Snowy egret
Snowy egret

The highlight of the NWR is Black Point Drive, about 7 miles of a one-way auto gravel road built on top of dikes that wind through ponds and palms and mangroves, with many, many birds feeding and flying into and out of the shallow waters impounded out of the ocean.

Coots at Merritt Island
Coots at Merritt Island

I was able to catch an endangered wood stork feeding.

Wood Stork at Merritt Island
Wood Stork at Merritt Island

I saw, but was not able to capture via camera, a flock of roseate spoonbills in flight. That was a fantastic sight. It was Sunday so there was quite a bit of auto traffic, which spooks the birds when the drivers get out and slam their car doors.

White Pelican in flight over Merritt Island
White Pelican in flight over Merritt Island

Girls saw an armadillo on their ride. We saw alligators too and some cute lizards.

Tricolored Heron at Merritt Island
Tricolored Heron at Merritt Island

We arrive just ahead of the Annual Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival. This has been an annual event for the last 18 years, sharing exhibition space, lectures, shows, and tours all over the area. Photographers, and the hybrid group of “digiscopers” (attaching a camera to a sighting scope), have the opportunity to listen and see the best photographs of birds and other wildlife in this area and around the world. Lessons on birdwatching, photography, painting, etc. are available.

Butterflies at Merritt Island
Butterflies at Merritt Island

It was windy enough to show small white caps on the pools at Merritt Island. Mangrove islands everywhere.

Mangrove islands at Merritt Island
Mangrove islands at Merritt Island

More water than we had seen in years. Working on photographing birds in flight (still not very good.) It was mid-day so the lighting was not too good.

Beggar's tick
Beggar’s tick

God-daughter and her friend brought their bikes, so they limited us in where we went and how long we stayed. But it whetted my appetite. This will be the first of several trips to the Atlantic coast. Definitely….

Greater Yellowlegs  at Merritt Island
Greater Yellowlegs at Merritt Island

An Ancient Gardener Aging in Place

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