2022 Blog #3 - Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

I planned on spending a day shooting Wildlife - Birds mostly - at Merritt Island NWR with an added bonus of seeing a rocket launch from Kennedy Space Center.  I got an early start for the hour long drive, but was diverted off of I-95 due to a terrible accident which shut down the highway for the day.  I arrived at the Merritt Island Visitor Center approximately 3 hours later and managed to SEE the launch, but I did not have time to get my camera in place for any shots.  The launch was only about 8 miles away and you can feel the vibrations and have a good view of it as it clears the tree line.  The alligators were all roaring/bellowing because they thought the vibrations and sounds was another alligator entering their territory!

Just behind the Visitor Center there is a short boardwalk loop where you can observe an Osprey nest, alligators, turtles, and various birds and shouldn't be missed.  The male Osprey brought a fish back for the female and the young (although I couldn't see if there were any nestlings) and then headed to a tree to feast on what remained.  He was being harassed by 4 Red-Shouldered Hawks who wanted his catch.

Next I drove over to Black Point Drive, which is a 7 mile unpaved road winding through the refuge.  There are plenty of places to pull over and observe the wildlife up close and personal.  Beware of the alligators and snakes near the water's edge and be as quiet as possible (don't slam the car door!) and you'll see all kinds of wildlife.  I saw Wood Storks, Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons, Green Herons, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Great Egrets, Reddish Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Common Gallinule all feeding within a short distance.

I will make plans to go back at some point - probably not during the spring or summer since I'm told that the mosquitos and flies will eat you alive.  

Some of my favorite images are shown below, but here is a link to the full Gallery along with another link to some other images I took on my first day in Florida.  Enjoy!

Merritt Island Gallery

Birds at Crane Lakes

Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge - 03/03/2022

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