Merritt Island, 1/2/2012

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Horned Grebe
Yesterday I spent the morning and much of the afternoon on Merritt Island.  I started out the morning at the Max Brewer Causeway and Pump House Loop.  It was cloudy and a little rainy, and there wasn't the diversity of bird species I normally find there.  Highlights of the area were 9 Bufflehead mixed in with some Lesser Scaup and about 50 Black Skimmers in the distance on the loop.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Black Skimmer

On the way to Blackpoint Dr, I saw a Bald Eagle perched in a tree; I found two more on the drive.  I found the usual assortment of ducks there--Pintail, Widgeons, Shovelers, Bufflehead, and Hooded Mergansers.  The sky gradually began to clear and the sky became increasingly conducive to photography.  By the time I made it to the second parking lot (with the restrooms), the light was quite nice.  I walked back the trail by the lake, and this is where I hit the jackpot.  A Horned Grebe was there actively feeding in a channel right next to me.  Several Spoonbills, Reddish Egrets and other herons and egrets were back there.  I also saw a Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, and several Osprey.  There were also 3 Loggerhead Shrike, and 1 Eastern Meadowlark posed for me.  I found the usual, Common Yellowthroat, Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a Belted Kingfisher and Royal Tern flew by.  I met another group of 3 that saw a Sora and another rail there, but I didn't see them myself.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Eastern Meadowlark
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Reddish Egret
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Reddish Egret
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Tricolored Heron
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Northern Pintail
After leaving Blackpoint Dr, I went to Scrub Ridge Trail, where I found 3 Eastern Towhee, 2 American Kestrel and 1 Bald Eagle, but no Florida Scrub Jays.  From there I went down BioLab Rd, where I was able to capture my first photographs of a Red-breasted Merganser (even though they weren't very good) and find several shorebirds, including Yellowlegs, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Short-billed Dowitchers, Dunlin and Willet.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Little Blue Heron

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

In terms of variety of bird species, this was my best day on the island; I counted a total of 70 species.  I also identified a Collared Dove and 3 Cattle Egrets on the drive to the island, making my grand total for the day 72 species.  I found everything I hoped to see except for a Scrub Jay and White Pelican.  Not a bad way to start the new year.

Here's the list of species I saw on Merritt Island.
American Wigeon X
Blue-winged Teal X
Northern Shoveler X
Northern Pintail X
Lesser Scaup X
Bufflehead 9
Hooded Merganser 11
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Pied-billed Grebe X
Horned Grebe 2
Wood Stork X
Double-crested Cormorant X
Anhinga X
Brown Pelican 1
Great Blue Heron X
Great Egret X
Snowy Egret X
Little Blue Heron X
Tricolored Heron X
Reddish Egret 5
Green Heron 2
White Ibis X
Glossy Ibis X
Roseate Spoonbill 15
Black Vulture X
Turkey Vulture X
Osprey X
Bald Eagle 4
Northern Harrier 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 3
American Kestrel 5
Common Gallinule 1
American Coot X
Killdeer X
American Avocet 35
Greater Yellowlegs X
Willet X
Lesser Yellowlegs X
Ruddy Turnstone X
Sanderling X
Dunlin X
Short-billed Dowitcher X
Long-billed Dowitcher 1
Laughing Gull X
Ring-billed Gull X
Herring Gull X
Caspian Tern 1
Forster's Tern 1
Royal Tern 2
Black Skimmer 50
Rock Pigeon X
Mourning Dove X
Belted Kingfisher 5
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Pileated Woodpecker 2
Loggerhead Shrike 3
Fish Crow X
Tree Swallow X
Northern Mockingbird 2
European Starling X
Common Yellowthroat 2
Palm Warbler X
Yellow-rumped Warbler X
Eastern Towhee 3
Savannah Sparrow X
Song Sparrow 1
Red-winged Blackbird X
Eastern Meadowlark 1
Common Grackle X
Boat-tailed Grackle X


  1. Sounds like an outstanding day at MINWR! Great photos, I really like the Horned Grebe. Those red eyes are captivating.

  2. Terrific images, Scott, particularly the Eastern Meadowlark and the Reddish Egret in flight, and of course the Horned Grebe!

  3. Wow, sounds like you had a terrific day of birding. Your photographs are superb! I'm especially fond of the Horned Grebe and Eastern Meadowlark images, though, all are beautiful. Great post!

  4. Wow, amazing weblog structure! How lengthy have you ever been running a
    blog for? you make blogging glance easy. The full
    glance of your website is great, let alone the content material!

    Also visit my web page :: Samurai Siege Hack Tool


Post a Comment

Feel free to comment to leave feedback.