Its been a while since I've spent a morning birding solo, without my mini-birder, as I did Monday morning. I spent the morning exploring Merritt Island NWR, starting with a drive along Blackpoint Drive. Around the area of the second observation stop, I came across a very large mixed group of ducks. Most have made their way to the area to spend the winter here. I saw the first Northern Pintails, American Wigeons, Gadwalls, and Green-winged Teals of the season. I also saw Blue-winged Teals, Northern Shovelers, and Mottled Ducks.
I saw this solo American Avocet foraging near a small group of Teals. I'm always delighted to see these elegant shorebirds! There were several large groups of waders around. I saw 2 Northern Harriers patrolling the area. There were numerous Belted Kingfishers along the way.Yellow-rumped Warblers, Palm Warblers, Gray Catbirds, Savannah Sparrows, and Common Yellow Throats were abundant. I saw Caspian, Forster's, and Royal Terns. There have been a few recent Gull-billed Tern sightings, but I didn't come across one. Maybe next time!
I also checked out Biolab Road. Dunlin and Least Sandpipers were plentiful along the shallow shore lines.
This Osprey had just caught its lunch.
|Great Blue Heron|
The highlight of my day was near the end of Biolab Rd. where I encountered an area populated with over 500 birds. They were mostly waders, Spoonbills, Ibises, Egrets, and Herons, but seeing the mass in action was cool. There was also a large group of White Pelicans that were foraging cooperatively in the shallow waters.