Friday, January 02, 2009

FL Pics: Merritt Island

We stopped at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (near Cape Canaveral) thinking we might just pass through for a day, and ended up spending three days. There were so many birds, of so many kinds, it took us several hours just to drive the 7-mile wildlife drive...and we drove it over and over.

One afternoon, we stopped to look briefly at an anhinga. We then noticed a little gator sitting nearby, watching the anhinga.

We noticed some movement far off, and after a while squinting through the binoculars saw two wild pigs, and watched them for a while. Then someone else spotted a pair of ears in the grass in front of us. Raccoon? Panther? After a while it trotted into full view...a bobcat.

After a couple of tours around the wildlife drive, we knew where to look for this guy -- a roseate spoonbill. I thought they were endangered, but it turns out that after reaching the brink of extinction in the late 1800's (due to hunting for their feathers), populations have recovered just enough that they're no longer a protected species.

These guys are listed as endangered -- but we saw quite a few on our trip: wood storks.

We especially liked sunrise and sunset, when the birds would fly in flocks to and from their roosting/feeding spots.