Sunday, March 27, 2011

Merritt Island NWR

We returned from our Florida trip by way of Washington DC.  We took a relatively leisurely route, which included some nonbirding destinations.  Our first stop was the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, just east of Titusville (and just north of Cape Canaveral--the refuge is closed on shuttle launch days). 

Unlike our 2010 visit, we had no trouble finding Florida Jays, a species endemic to the state.  The jays were common just north of the entryway to the National Seashore.  We stopped at the seashore, but were disappointed by the crowds there.  With near record low temperatures last year, we had the beach  to ourselves.

Another highlight of the refuge is the auto wildlife drive.  We saw many birds there, often with close views, such as the Savannah Sparrow below.  Also noted along the trail were a Clapper Rail and wild boars.  Early morning visits are definitely advised, since the refuge becomes crowded as the day progresses.

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