Sunday, November 13, 2011

More From Florida

On Thursday, Stephanie and I decided to head back to the coast for another day of birding. I remembered hearing about a place called Viera Wetlands and I thought it was right around the Canaveral area. Luckily, I had remembered correctly and it was only a short distance south of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands, better known to birders as Viera Wetlands, is a 200 acre wetland that is part of the Brevard County water reuse system. Not only do the wetlands make for awesome birding, they help to clean the water for use in irrigation. On our first pass through the property, it was evident that it hosts tons of wading birds. The lighting was not great for photography but we did manage a few nice shots!
Glossy Ibis
Snowy Egret by Stephanie Ripma
On our second loop around the property, we noticed a lot more ducks, coots, and Common Gallinules. One of the most interesting ducks was a Blue-winged Teal that was in a transitional plumage. You can see the white crescent starting to show on the head.

Blue-winged Teal by Stephanie Ripma

Common Gallinule by Stephanie Ripma
Since we had finished birding the property by noon, we decided to spend the afternoon at Merritt Island NWR. We made a quick loop around the wildlife drive but only found the expected species. Since there were not many birds around, we moved on to the beach at Canaveral National Seashore. We drove several miles down the beach to one of the parking areas and set up the scope atop one of the walkways over the dunes. Just like on Tuesday, there were tons of Northern Gannets  out over the ocean. Closer to shore, many Royal Terns were present and allowed us to get some decent photos.

Royal Tern
We moved even farther down the beach and setup the scope again. As I was watching more gannets pass by, Steph noticed a large dark bird out over the water. It was our only Magnificent Frigatebird of the trip!

Magnificent Frigatebird
I really enjoyed birding on the east coast of Florida much more than I anticipated and Merritt Island NWR has become one of my favorite refuges that I have ever visited. I hope to come back to visit the area soon and maybe attend the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival!


1 comment:

Dan Huber said...

A spot my wife and I hope to go soon. Great birds and photos.