Thursday, November 15, 2012

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge 11/12/12

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.

American Avocet

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!

Least Sandpiper

I also checked out Biolab Road. Dunlin and Least Sandpipers were plentiful along the shallow shore lines.

Osprey

This Osprey had just caught its lunch.

American Kestrel

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.


I ended up with a species count of 64 for the morning. I'm looking forward to getting back there soon!

29 comments:

  1. Tammy, I love Merrit Island. I've visited for three years in a row during March Break. Amazing photos. What lens are you using?!?!

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    1. I used a 400 mm. The Kestel, Osprey, & GBH were perched right near the road. Hope you make it back to Merritt Island again:)

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  2. what a fabulous place for birding - with or without your son. :)

    love the avocet and the osprey, but the GBH portrait is gorgeous. :)

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  3. The eyes on that Osprey are hypnotic, I'd hate to have them directed at me! I'm so glad you found so many birds out and about because that means we get to look forward to more of your excellent pictures :)

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  4. That's an excellent count. And GREAT shots!!! Sounds like a beautiful way to get out and enjoy the start to your day:)

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  5. Again a wonderful post Tammy,
    your pictures are AMAZING..... thanks.

    Greetings, Joop

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  6. What a wonderful list of all that you gave us, and the photographs, they are so beautiful, but, my favourite is the American Avocet, superb.

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  7. Great photos Tammy, my preference is for pictures 3 and 5.

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  8. Your photos are awesome and I am blown away by the number of birds you saw. Congrats on your solo morning count.. that's fantastic, Tammy.

    I think is time I checked out MINWR! Thanks for the info too.

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  9. wat is die visarend prachtig en de lepelaars hadden zeker een vergadering.

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  10. Sounds and looks like a fabulous morning Tammy, love that American Avocet :-)

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  11. What a great group of birds you caught. The look on that osprey's face is so funny.

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  12. Beautiful! I'm especially fond of the osprey, kestrel, and heron! Gorgeous photos, Tammy!

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  13. Looks like you had a great morning!

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  14. Another amazing group of shots Tammy! The Osprey is giving you a really evil stare, look at those eyes! The shot of the Least Sandpiper is my favourite, absolutely stonking shot!
    J
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

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  15. Magníficas fotos amiga Tmmy.
    Un abrazo!!

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  16. Hola Tammy impresionantes tomas,la del Aguila pescadora de lujo con un buen acercamiento.Un abrazo

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  17. Just found your blog by hopping around, lovely birds and photos. The Osprey shot is awesome.

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  18. Oh be still my heart! They are all great and some stunners too.

    You must feel great after an outing like that.

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  19. The Osprey caught a huge fish! Great shots, all of them!

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  20. Gosh - how wonderful to be able to see so many beautiful birds at once! The photo of the osprey is terrific!
    xo Catherine

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  21. Ospreys have such awesome eyes. They are kind of eery when you see them up close and personal.

    I checked the map on the MINWR web site and located your road locations, thank Tammy. We hope to visiting there soon.

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  22. Buenas capturas, Tammy, la tercera y quinta excelentes.

    Saludos.

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  23. Great shot of the osprey's eyes! I can't tellif he's mad or just crazy! LOL

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  24. The Osprey shot is just mind blowing - superb.

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  25. Merritt Island is still on my list Tammy, great post and images!

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  26. Well, you covered the beginning of the week and we were there on Friday! Wonderful report and fantastic images! This was my first visit to MINWR and the avocet was on my "wish list". Sadly, no luck. But your wonderful picture helps, thank you! The highlight of our day was getting some pics of a bobcat.
    We'll be back there soon. Great area. -- Wally

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  27. I would love to have a playground like yours. Thanks for sharing, and looking forward to see more of your photos.

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I greatly appreciate your comments!