Merritt Island 5/23/2012

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This morning I returned again to Merritt Island to see what we hadn't seen yesterday. We went to Pumphouse Loop Bio Lab Rd, Scrub Ridge Trail and the visitors center.  Pumphouse Loop was hardly worth mentioning but I did find a Green Heron that sat still very nicely for me and let me take its picture.

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Green Heron
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Bio Lab Rd was much more fun.  We decided that we should start from the south and work our way north.  Right off the bat we saw two Bobcats, and I was able to take my best photographs of this wonderful animal.  Then we were treated to a Great Blue Heron killing and swallowing what I believe is a Southern Water Snake.  We saw several species of shorebirds including Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, many Black-necked Stilts, a Stilt Sandpiper, a Spotted Sandpiper, and a Ruddy Turnstone.  We also saw many Semipalmated Sandpipers and a couple Western Sandpipers.  On the north end of the road, we saw a Bald Eagle catch a fish and take to its perch.

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Great Blue Heron
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Bald Eagle checking on the cargo
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Northern Flicker

We returned to Scrub Ridge trail for some better photos of Scrub Jays and to photograph Eastern Towhees.  Both species were more cooperative this morning, and in fact the Scrub Jays followed us wherever we went.  I think they're being fed peanuts, and now they look at people as sources for handouts.  We also heard a couple Bob Whites while we were there.

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Florida Scrub Jay
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Florida Scrub Jay
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Eastern Towhee

At the visitor center and on the causeway during the return home, I saw a Ruby-throated Hummingbird and a Eurasion Collared Dove.  Here is a list of species we saw in the various sections of MINWR we visited this morning.  We had a total of 53 species for the day and a total of 65 species for yesterday and today combined.

Pumphouse Loop
Brown Pelican 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 1
Tricolored Heron 2
Reddish Egret 1
Green Heron 3
White Ibis 3
Osprey 2
Black-necked Stilt 2
Ruddy Turnstone 5
Ring-billed Gull 1
Royal Tern 1
Mourning Dove 1
Fish Crow 3
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 2

Bio Lab Rd
Mottled Duck 2
Double-crested Cormorant 8
Anhinga 1
Brown Pelican 3
Great Blue Heron (Blue form) 10
Great Egret 15
Snowy Egret 2
Little Blue Heron 1
Tricolored Heron 15
Reddish Egret 5
Green Heron 3
White Ibis 5
Glossy Ibis 2
Roseate Spoonbill 5
Black Vulture X
Turkey Vulture X
Osprey 1
Bald Eagle 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Semipalmated Plover 1
Killdeer 2
Black-necked Stilt 12
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Ruddy Turnstone 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper 15
Western Sandpiper 2
Stilt Sandpiper 1
Laughing Gull 2
Ring-billed Gull 1
Mourning Dove 5
Common Ground-Dove 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 2
Blue Jay 1
Fish Crow X
Carolina Wren 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Northern Mockingbird 3
Northern Cardinal 5
Red-winged Blackbird X
Eastern Meadowlark 3
Common Grackle X
Boat-tailed Grackle X
Brown-headed Cowbird 2

Scrub Ridge Trail
Northern Bobwhite 2
Northern Flicker 4
Great Crested Flycatcher 3
White-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 1
Florida Scrub-Jay 5
Eastern Towhee 2

Visitor CenterBlack Vulture 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Red-winged Blackbird 3
Brown-headed Cowbird 3

Max Brewer Causeway
Rock Pigeon 3
Eurasian Collared-Dove 1


  1. Wow Scott great series!
    That eagle is killer (I guess in both senses of the word), as is that GBH. You got some great predatory behaviors captured here, and hey an in-flight flicker to boot?

    Nice work! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Thanks!  It was a pretty fun day, and I always like finding birds with their prey.

  4. Honestly, Scott, this looks like a National Geographic presentation.  What a magnificient day for you, seeing such animal diversity and getting these excellent images.  Wow.  This has to be one of your most memorable nature outings.  Wish I had been there with you.  Many of these photos are iconic.

  5. The Bobcat would make my day! Gorgeous!

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