Thursday, April 2, 2015

Heading North!!

After leading our final Wild Wednesday Walk and assisting with the last Saturday morning Rockin' Refuge Rangers, we packed up and headed north out of the Florida Keys.

Our first stop was in Titusville, Florida just east of Orlando. The drive up IH-95 was amazing, as we noted that about 75% of the license plates were from northeastern states and Ontario. The Snowbirds are migrating home for sure!!

We paid a visit to Merritt Island NWR, since we are always on the lookout for places to see and volunteer. This refuge reminded us of Laguna Atascosa NWR, with a lot of oceanside wetlands, plenty of birds, and a very nice wildlife drive. Many of the birds were showing their "high breeding" coloration and displaying.

One of the first birds we saw was this beautiful Bald Eagle, perched high in a snag.
Bald Eagle
Waders were the most common.
Great Blue Heron
This Tricolored Heron was showing off its blue bill and tan-colored plumes. You only see this during breeding season.
Tricolored Heron
Snowy Egret
Less showy was this Swamp Sparrow. They tend to be sneaky, so I was glad to get a clear picture.
Swamp Sparrow
The Roseate Spoonbills were very bright.
Roseate Spoonbill
And they have one of the "good" grackles! Unlike the pesky urban Great-tailed Grackles in Texas, the Boat-tailed Grackle is a resident of coastal areas and isn't considered a pest.
Boat-tailed Grackle
Our most interesting observation was a large male Alligator "bellowing" at another male in an adjacent pond. This loud, rumbling noise will really get your attention if you are nearby to hear it. This big fellow would arch his back and project both his head and tail up out of the water and then sink as he bellowed. Impressive.
American Alligator bellowing
Next stop, Georgia...



  1. I would have liked to have seen that bellowing alligator! Very cool beans!

  2. Those are pretty much the same birds we're seeing here in SW Louisiana.... even saw a bald eagle a couple of days ago. Am looking forward to seeing where you're heading next.

  3. Looks like Merritt Island didn't disappoint! I think the alligator bellowing is the coolest thing I have ever heard! We have only about 350 more miles until we are home. Can't wait! Travel safe guys!