I’ve been up to (over to? across to?) Titusville several times in the past, either to visit the Kennedy Space Center or to watch shuttle launches, but I’d never been birding in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. My father and I went there together, and I got to see another bird I’d been hoping to see.
We paused along a pull-off point because I saw a few birds standing together and wondered what they were. The day was extremely windy, and taking in-focus pictures was a huge challenge. The birds were about the size of a heron, with pink feathers and a long, strange bill with a circular curve at the end.
They were roseate spoonbills. I had never seen one before nor even heard of them.
The spoonbills eventually flew off, and almost right as they did, a tricolored heron flew in and began to hunt. I was so pleased! Little did I know that I would be seeing more tricolored herons in the future, and in Dallas.
We tried the Atlantic side, hoping for brown pelicans, but there was almost no birds and LOTS of people. We turned away from the Atlantic, and that’s when we started seeing more birds.
The tricolored flew in right as my father and I were turning back from a trail that had ended in muck. As we would walk closer to the heron, she would fly and land just a little in front of us.
Finally she got tired of us always catching up with her and flew off for real.
We went by a location that was frequented by manatees, so we decided to drop in and look. We didn’t find manatees . . .
The adult brown pelican was initially loafing on a railing in a restricted part of the river. She dove into the water, floated for a while, then took off and began flying in circles. A juvenile joined in on the flying fun.
We went on a walk in an area of pine habitat, where we saw some scrub-jays and an immature bald eagle. Overall it was a good visit, and I hope that the next time I go to Florida, Q will come with me so we can check out the refuge together.