Monday, January 21, 2008

Birding Trip to Merritt Island

This weekend, we went on a field trip with Tampa Audubon to the Viera Wetlands and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Brevard County, on Florida's East Coast, near Cape Canaveral. The Viera Wetlands are part of Brevard County's water treatment and reclaimation system, located near the New Town of Viera and the A.Duda Sod Farm. The Duda family started planning Viera in the 1980s, and A. Duda and Sons has been operating sod farms since the 1970s. In addition to LOTS of birds, we saw a river otter, wild hogs, and a turtle at Viera Wetlands.

Sandhill cranes near the town of Viera

There was a caracara at the Viera Wetlands.

Along with an uncountable number of coots, only a tiny, tiny percentage of which are shown in this picture.

Sod farm

On the way to Merritt Island NWR, we stopped at Parrish Park, which is just on the other side of the Max Brewer Bridge from Titusville. The Max Brewer drawbridge is the longest swing bridge in the state, and one of only two existing historic deck girder swing bridges in Florida. The bridge is scheduled to be replaced by a high, fixed-span bridge.

Our group leader identified 92 different species, and I saw 60 or so. Some of my favorites are the sandhill crane, pie-billed grebe, roseate spoonbill, and peregrine falcon. My list for the trip:
pie-billed grebe
white pelican
brown pelican
American bittern
great blue heron
great egret
snowy egret
little blue heron
tricolored heron
reddish egret
cattle egret
green heron
white ibis
glossy ibis
roseate spponbill
wood stork
tree swallow
yellow rumped warbler
palm warbler
red-winged blackbird
common grackle
boat-tailed grackle
black vulture
american widgeon
blue-winged teal
northern shoveler
northern pintail
green-winged teal
lesser scaup
hooded merganser
ruddy duck
bald eagle
northern harrier
red-shouldered hawk
crested caracara
American kestrel
peregrine falcon
wild turkey
common moorhen
American coot
sandhill crane
American avocet
greater yellowlegs
marbled godwit
ruddy turnstone
short-billed dowitcher
laughing gull
Bonaparte's gull
ring-billed gull
herring gull
black-backed gull
Caspian tern
royal tern
Forster's tern
rock dove

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