Merritt Island NWR – 11/4/22

Jim Boland sent out his latest email newsletter last Thursday and it made me want to visit the refuge again. The last time I’d been was a while ago and before Hurricane Ian. I charged up my batteries and left early on Friday morning to explore.

There are still some road closures over there (see this link for the latest official status:, but the good news is that Black Point Wildlife Drive and West Gator Creek Road – spots I usually visit – are open.

I arrived well before sunrise and stopped by the Titusville Municipal marina. The weather forecast had me expecting very few clouds and I had a longer lens mounted to try and frame some details on the boats. When I saw this low cloud drifting in, I didn’t think I’d have time to swap lenses, so I pulled out my phone. Current phone cameras are just amazing! (Click on this one to see a higher res version on Flickr.)

A cloud drifts by above the marina before dawnA cloud drifts by above the marina before dawn. iPhone wide camera, handheld, 24mm eq., f/1.8, 1/5 sec, ISO 8000. RAW capture, processed in Photoshop and Lightroom.

I saw the same things that Jim reported including Spoonbills, a Reddish Egret, Blue-winged Teal, and Black-crowned Night-herons. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out this Redish Egret is the exact same bird he saw. It was especially entertaining: busy showing off its fishing prowess and ignoring photographers interested in making photos.

Hunting EgretHunting Egret.

I enjoyed seeing all the Goldenrod in bloom. This one was in nice light:

Goldenrod in golden lightGoldenrod in golden light.

And I couldn’t resist making a photo of this people watching gator. The header image is a crop from the center of the photo.

Craggy face critterCraggy face critter.

Our other common birds were out and about. I spotted a few warblers too, although the only one I was able to ID was a Yellow-rumped Warbler. It was a great trip – thanks for motivating me Jim!

I hope all of you are doing well. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, make some photos!

©2022, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

6 thoughts on “Merritt Island NWR – 11/4/22

  1. I loved all the shots, especially the gator. It is amazing what phones can do these days. I used to be a camera snob, but find myself using camera phone a lot now. Glad you got out and about!

  2. I love the close up of the gator….what a prehistoric looking critter! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Reddish Egret but the Spoonbill is my favorite Florida bird! So you had a fabulous day and took amazing photos! WOW!

    1. Thanks so much Diane!

      Reddish Egrets are fun to watch. I see one or two almost every time I go to MINWR. There a few Spoonbills there on Friday, but I didn’t get a good photo.

  3. Thank you for the update on post-Ian conditions at the refuge. Now, if Nicole will just leave you alone, all will be well.

    The marina shot is awesome! Talk about “moody”. I wonder if that ‘gator is anything like me at a buffet? “Oooh, that one looks good, and that one in the birding cap would really be filling!”

    Reddish Egrets have to be one of the most entertaining birds around. Their modern dance routines are mesmerizing.

    Wonderful outing, great photographs, terrific motivation. I can’t wait to get over there!

    1. You’re welcome Wally, although the update is going to be rendered moot with Nicole moving in today and tomorrow. I’m glad I got over there between storms.

      It does seem like that’s what the gators are thinking. I’ve never seen one act aggressive, but I’m glad to be in my car when I’m that close to one.

      I agree with you about the Redish Egrets – they are fun to watch!

      Take care,

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