Friday (22-December-2017) — Florida

Gone to See Florida 2017/2018 Road Trip. Day 2: Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

I try to stop and spend at least a day at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge when I do a road trip to Florida. It has been a while, and the last time I got rained out. The wildlife refuge suffered some Hurricane damage. Both Black Point Wildlife Drive, and Biolab road are open. Biolab road is now one-way, starting from the boat launch area. This is unfortunate, since in the morning you are driving into the sun. I spent the night in Titusville. When I woke up it was foggy. I arrived at the entrance to Black Point Wildlife Drive just after the gate was opened at sunrise. The fog was starting to rise, and when I looked behind I saw the opportunity for a great landscape sunrise image. The clouds and lifting fog made for good backgrounds. I did two loops on Black Point Wildlife Drive, and one pass on Biolab Road. I saw many birds up close. I think the early morning fog helped. Many of the palm trees on Biolab Road lost their tops during the hurricane. I hoped to see more Osprey, but only caught one in flight. There were many more Turkey, and Black Vultures. I am not sure of the ID for the Hawk with a red breast. After the sun came out, a couple of Alligators showed up. As I was leaving, I saw a number of spider webs with droplets of water left by the fog that were lit up by the sun.

Photographer and tripod viewing the sun rising over the trees in the early morning fog. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Image taken with a Fuji X-T2 camera and 100-400 OIS lens (ISO 200, 100 mm, f/7, 1/680 sec). (David J Mathre)
Photographer and tripod viewing the sun rising over the trees in the early morning fog. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Image taken with a Fuji X-T2 camera and 100-400 OIS lens (ISO 200, 100 mm, f/7, 1/680 sec). (David J Mathre)










Six-Years Ago (22-December-2011) — Florida

December Road Trip to Florida in 2011: Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

On my second day I arrived too early, and the gate to Black Point wildlife drive was still closed. While waiting I got a silhouette image of a Great Blue Heron in flight at dawn. During the day I got a macro image (with a telephoto lens) of a Golden Silk Spider, then a Great Egret in flight. Just before leaving, I spotted a reclusive American Bittern. These birds are hard to spot, since they are so well camouflaged. Even better, this one just caught a fish that appears to be almost too large to swallow. The last time I saw an American Bittern was at the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado.

Great Blue Heron Silhouette at Dawn in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Image taken with a D3s and 200-400 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 200, 400 mm, f/4, 1/1250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Great Blue Heron Silhouette at Dawn in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Image taken with a D3s and 200-400 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 200, 400 mm, f/4, 1/1250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Golden Silk Spider. Viewed along Black Point Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, Florida. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and  200-400 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 500, 400 mm, f/4, 1/320 sec).. (David J Mathre)
Golden Silk Spider. Viewed along Black Point Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, Florida. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 200-400 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 500, 400 mm, f/4, 1/320 sec).. (David J Mathre)
Great Egret in Flight in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 500 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 100, 500 mm, f/4, 1/2000 sec). (David J Mathre)
Great Egret in Flight in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 500 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 100, 500 mm, f/4, 1/2000 sec). (David J Mathre)
OK, I Caught This Fish -- Now How Do I Swallow It. A Reclusive American Bittern Caught Fishing along Black Point Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 500 mm f/4 VR II lens (ISO 180, 500 mm, f/4, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
OK, I Caught This Fish — Now How Do I Swallow It. A Reclusive American Bittern Caught Fishing along Black Point Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 500 mm f/4 VR II lens (ISO 180, 500 mm, f/4, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)