I spent last Wednesday morning at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. I hadn’t been in a while and I enjoyed seeing what’s going on over there.
As usual, I arrived early for a sunrise photo. I’ve photographed from this spot on Gator Creek Road several times, but I’ve never noticed flowers blooming there before. I think they make a nice foreground accent.
After the sun was up, I drove around both Blackpoint Wildlife Drive and Gator Creek Road. There were a tremendous number of birds around – the winter visitors are here in force!
You can get an idea of which species to expect at MINWR (and when) over at this page on ebird. Here are the ones I recognized on my visit: Northern Shoveler, Lesser Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Pie-billed Grebe, Wood Stork, Double Crested Cormorant, Anhinga, White Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tri-colored Heron, Little Blue Heron, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Coot, Black-bellied Plover, Killdeer, Willet, Ring-billed Gull, Laughing Gull, Black Skimmer, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Loggerhead Shrike, and Savannah Sparrow. I’m sure a more experienced birder would have recognized even more. I also saw an Alligator or two and a River Otter.
And my online blogging friend Jim Boland also spotted a Red-headed Duck there recently.
This bird was posing on a mound of seaweed next to the causeway. I was able to crouch down and make some eye level photos with a nice out of focus background.
And this Willet was hunting in the surf, also along the causeway. The sun was coming over my shoulder and the small waves rolling in made the blue sky reflections contrast nicely with the sandy bottom showing through the water.
And here’s a bonus sunrise photo – made with my long lens. I like the group of birds flying in front of the sun in the distance.
What a nice visit to one of our Central Florida Photo Op treasures! If you haven’t been over there recently, now is a great time of year to check it out. You can see other photographs from MINWR in this set on Flickr, and from BPWD in this set.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.