Thursday 4 January 2018 49 °F
Today, my family and I planned on visiting Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge for the day, which is considered the greatest birding spot in this part of the state.
We were treated to Chicago-like temperatures, which ranged from 30-49F today!
On the way, this Otter crossed the road far away:
Our first stop was Shiloh Road, in search of Saltmarsh Sparrow, Clapper Rail, and Reddish Egret.
Immature WHITE IBIS:
REDDISH EGRET, one of my target birds for the day and a life bird!
I also had my life bird CLAPPER RAIL cross the trail in front of me, but it disappeared too quickly for photos.
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN:
WILLETS, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, AMERICAN AVOCET, RING-BILLED GULL, and SNOWY EGRET:
Female COMMON YELLOWTHROAT:
We were then notified by another birder that unfortunately pretty much the rest of Merritt Island was flooded from recent storms! We therefore shifted gears to inland birding and concentrated our focus on Deer Path Road primarily in search of Burrowing Owls.
CRESTED CARACARA, I’ve only ever seen this bird before once before in Costa Rica and it was not nearly as excellent of a look!
Unfortunately, we dipped on the Burrowing Owls.
The next stop was Hal Scott Regional Preserve & Park where I hoped to find Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, and Bachman’s Sparrow. Unfortunately, due to the time of day and windy conditions, I missed all three species.
There were a few consolation birds to be found though, including PALM WARBLER:
Our final stop for the day was Orlando Wetlands, which turned out to be quite fruitful.
Here it is swimming:
Immature GLOSSY IBIS:
LITTLE BLUE HERON:
Here is the view of the wetlands:
And a nice BALD EAGLE to end the day!
Bird-of-the-day goes to the Reddish Egret, my only photographed life bird today, with runners-up to the Crested Caracara and Roseate Spoonbill.
More to come, stay tuned!
World Life List: 937 Species (2 life birds today: Clapper Rail and Reddish Egret)