Sunday, February 6, 2011

Florida Sun

Last week we took a break from the cold with a working trip to Orlando via Savannah and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge offers some of the best winter birding in the east. The marshes are usually filled with large flocks of wading birds and rafts of many kinds of ducks. After two years of severe drought, many of the shallow pools were mud flats, vegetation was dying and birds were scarce. We saw most of the expected species, but in pairs or small groups. Almost no ducks were seen. Just a few coots and gallinule. Osprey and buzzard were plenitful and we saw a few hawks. At the visitor center I finally saw the painted bunting female. The male did not appear while I was there. The painted bunting is new to my list.

Female Painted Bunting, feeding on the ground, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
Female Anginga, also called Water Turkey

Dummit Cove, favorite fishing spot

This Roseate Spoonbill should be feeding in 6-12 inches of water

End of the day on the Refuge. This small group was one of the largest groups of wading birds we saw.