Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Florida Day 3 (Jan 30)

American Wigeon in flight, Merritt Island NWR, FL, Jan 30, 2012

Eurasian Wigeon (two of three), Merritt Island NWR, FL, Jan 30, 2012

Florida Scrub Jay, Canaveral NS, Jan 30, 2012

Royal Tern, Indiatlantic beach, FL, Jan 30, 2012

Black Vulture, Canaveral NS, Jan 30, 2012

Great Horned Owl on nest, Merritt Island NWR, FL, Jan 30, 2012

The third day found me travelling north to Merritt Island NWR arriving around dawn to find the gate on the Black Point Wildlife Drive closed.  I waited a bit but it didn’t open so I headed to Canaveral National Seashore instead.   I made several stops along the beach checking both the beach and the ocean.  Nothing too extraordinary, but some nice looks at birds fighting the strong winds here.  The road out was more productive with several groups of Florida Scrub Jays along the roadside that provided some great looks at this Florida endemic.  After leaving the national seashore I checked out a nest that had held Great Horned Owls in the past and held them yet again with a bird sitting in the nest and giving great views.  I stopped briefly at the Visitors Center and heard the area of the wildlife drive was now open but remained quite dry so I decided to bypass it and instead concentrate on the various ponds along the road that held some waterfowl.  The most productive pond was on the road out past the Visitors Center where one area held several thousand American Wigeon as well as three male Eurasian Wigeons.  Besides the large numbers of wigeon I had Lesser and Greater Scaup, Northern Shovelers, dozens of Redheads, American Coots by the thousands and Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal.  Oddly I did not have a single Northern Pintail my entire time here (I have had several thousand here in the past). 
Sanderling, Indiatlantic beach, FL, Jan 30, 2012

Royal Tern, Indiatlantic beach, FL, Jan 30, 2012

Tree Swallows, Blue Heron Wetlands, Titusville, FL, Jan 30, 2012
After spending the early through mid morning on Merritt Island I travelled south a few miles to the Blue Heron Wetlands in Titusville.  This area of water impoundments can be quite productive at times and usual is not too crowded.  It was indeed not crowded and provided all the typical species expected.  The highlight here was seeing swarming grounds of Tree Swallows moving through feeding on the abundant insect life.  It is always an impressive sight to see thousands and thousands of Tree Swallows swarming over a small area.  I tried to pick some odd swallow out of the masses but had no luck.  I then made the drive back down to the Melbourne area.

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