Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Merritt Island - National Wildlife Refuge

Oh boy! It is time - but first breakfast and lots and lots of layers - it is 43 - a bit frisky for Florida. Okay I'm ready - let's go!
This Pigeon is warming up as best as he can.

We pulled on to Parrish Park and observed some Gulls and Skimmers...pulled out the scopes

and found our Long-tailed Duck! I love it when a plan comes together!

A Ruddy Turnstone on the edge is surrounded by sea foam which made me think of snow.

Oh, here's a photo taken of the Long-tailed Duck from at least half mile away but that's okay - the view was great in the scope....lifer for me :)

What a beautiful sight!

This is such a huge place - it would take a week of Sundays to see it all and then some. We drove and stopped at several spots along the way. A group of Dunlins and Sanderlings is one of our first greetings into the refuge.

Beautiful vistas everywhere I looked - with ample bird sightings.

The Avocet - always one to draw the attention....

such a beautiful shorebird.

And Ducks - some closer to us than others. A pair of Northern Shoveler in their beautiful plumage.

More Avocets - there were so many that they were causing a waves as they passed by.

So much to see and so little time.

A visit to the Visitor Information Center - a long boardwalk gracefully surrounded by large Oaks and Palm Trees.

A Dragonfly staying warm in the sun and blending in perfectly with this palm frond.

A Short-tailed Hawk carrying food and eating it on the fly....multitasking.

We spotted a banded Scrub Jay in the area where they are known to nest.

At this location - previous birders have reported seeing Eared Grebes with Horned Grebes...

when we saw them they were in line with those towers - at least half a mile away - lifer for me :)

A visit to the Canaveral National Seashore was in order too - a great place to seal the day.

Shells and sand of a different color/texture than what I am used to.

A Ruddy Turnstone doing what it is known for - turning stones while looking for food.

A group of Royal Terns, Forster and Sandwich being approached by a Willet and looked upon by a couple Ring-billed Gulls.

Foot prints in the sand.

The sky is reflecting the coolness of the air.

It's time to wrap it up for the day - food and rest is calling.

We were blessed with a beautiful sunset as we headed off the Island - what a great way to end the day!

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