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.
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.
Gone to See America. December 2011 Florida Road Trip. Day 3: Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
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).