Sunday, March 9, 2014

Merritt Island & Orlando Wetlands Park, 3/8/2014

Merritt Island NWR
Reddish Egret with American Avocets
I had a pretty fun time at Merritt Island this morning. I saw a Horned Grebe at the causeway and then went to Blackpoint Dr.  There was a significant number of shorebirds there: lots of American Avocets, Dunlin and Least Sandpipers, quite a few Black-bellied Plovers, and a few distant dowitchers and Red Knots. There were far fewer species of ducks than is normal this time of year: Northern Shoveler, Blue-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, and four Red-breasted Mergansers.

Merritt Island NWR
Black-bellied Plover
On the south side of the main road (west of the turnoff to Blackpoint Dr), there was a large number of wading birds, shorebirds and pelicans.  At one point, a group of them flew, containing the most interesting species in the group.  If I've counted right, this photo shows 11 Marbled Godwits, 5 American Avocets, 3 Dunlin and 1 Willet, though there were more of each species in the water.

Merritt Island NWR
American Avocet, Marbled Godwit, Willet, Dunlin
The visitor's center was also fun.  Painted Buntings are always nice to see, even at a feeder, and I also saw my first White-throated Sparrow in Florida, though this individual did not show itself well enough for photos.

Merritt Island NWR
Painted Bunting
I spent much less time at Orlando Wetlands Park. My main goal was to see the Black Skimmers that are hanging out there.  I walked to cell 16B, where they're located, and then walked back to my car. Along the way, I saw about 50 species of birds, including at least a hundred Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, both teals, and Roseate Spoonbills. One of the skimmers flew right by me skimming, as if it wanted me to take its picture. But one of the bigger highlights of the day was seeing an alligator with a white pelican. Unfortunately, it caught the unlucky pelican before I arrived. I only saw it after the fact. It did a couple rolls with it before I had to go, but it was definitely worth it.

Orlando Wetlands Park
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Black Skimmer
Orlando Wetlands Park
Alligator with White Pelican
Orlando Wetlands Park
Alligator with White Pelican

1 comment:

  1. actually the alligator is eating a brown pelican

    yellow tip on its bill, brown feathering. It is actually a very light bird…about 6-12 lbs even though its wingspan is 6-8 feet.


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