Florida Space Coast 2013 – part 2

Ha!  Right into part 2 with no delay.  I’m ready to roll after skimming through my 3,000+ photos for Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.  In my previous post I had posted a bright red dragonfly I labeled “is this a very bright Roseate Skimmer” from Green Cay in Boynton Beach, FL.  Thanks to the expertise of Angel Abreu of Miami, FL, this dragonfly has been correctly identified as a Scarlet Skimmer.  Cool.  Thank you, Angel!

January 23, 2013 I was only scheduled for my opening keynote speach.  Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos, but the auditorium was packed and the audience was great.  During the day I got to relax with leisure birding at a fabulous little spot called Rich Grissom Viera Wetlands (or referred to by me as just Viera Wetlands in Viera, FL).

Blue-winged Teal pair - Viera Wetlands - Viera FL - 2013-01-23

Blue-winged Teal pair – Viera Wetlands – Viera FL – 2013-01-23 photo by Greg Miller

 

Carolina Satyr - Viera Wetlands - Viera FL - 2013-01-23

Carolina Satyr – Viera Wetlands – Viera FL – 2013-01-23 photo by Greg Miller

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Florida Space Coast 2013 – part 1

Anyone who keeps bird lists and wants to get the best bang for the buck has to go to several geographic locations at different seasons.  For Big Year folks, this means (in addition to chasing rarities) visits to what refer to as “The Big 5”.  These are the 5 states where you can pick up a huge number of regular species and also be in proximity to potential rarities showing up while you are there.  These states are Alaska, California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida.  All of these states have unique specialty birds–birds that occur more commonly there than many other places (and a few are completely unique to those areas).  What’s it like to visit a birding festival in one of these locations?  Read on.  I will tell you about my trip to Brevard County, Florida for the an old and well-recognized festival, the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.  The epicenter of the birding action here is the very birdy Merritt Island NWR near Titusville, FL.

I arrived in Florida late Sunday afternoon, 1/20/2013, with 3 hours of daylight to burn.  Spending that time at Merritt Island NWR seemed like a good plan.  And 70 species later I would say,  “Yes.  That was a good choice.”

Merritt Island NWR is a big wildlife refuge near Cape Canaveral where the space shuttle launches occurred.  Here are a few pics from the Black Point Wildlife Drive.

Northern Pintail male in alternate plumage - Merritt Island NWR - near Titusville FL - 2013-01-20

Northern Pintail male in alternate plumage – Merritt Island NWR – near Titusville FL – 2013-01-20 photo by Greg Miller

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