Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Merritt Island

I took a trip to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge with my wife and in-laws on New Year's Eve with the aim of connecting with Florida Scrub Jay.

Merritt Island is in the shadow of Cape Canaveral on Florida's Atlantic coast, but despite this proximity to the base of the retired space shuttle programme it is stuffed full of birds.

Notable species seen included American White Pelican (about 100 in several flocks), Reddish Egret (10 on brackish pools), Roseate Spoonbill (seen in twos and threes several times, but only seen in flight), Wood Stork, Mottled Duck (only one seen on a quick sift through a large mixed flock of duck), Blue-winged Teal (several hundred seen), Hooded Merganser (two small flocks totally less than 20 birds), Red-breasted Merganser (one flock of seven), Osprey, Northern Harrier (one ringtail), Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs, Willet, Hudsonian Whimbrel (one bird seen), Least Sandpiper, Belted Kingfisher, White-eyed and Blue-headed Vireos, a furtive flock of wintering American Robins, and Black-and-white Warbler.

The undoubted highlights however were a male Painted Bunting that was frequenting the feeders at the Visitor's Centre, and a group of three Florida Scrub Jays on the Scrub Ridge Trail.

The Scrub Jays lived up to their reputation for being highly inquisitive and exceptionally tame.

Painted Bunting




B&W Warbler
Myrtle Warbler
Reddish Egret
Tricolored Heron

Greater Yellowlegs

American White Pelican

1 comment:

gumgig said...

Startling indeed!