A combination of the weather and a rich foraging environment in a mosquito impoundment led to the discovery of this large flock of birds at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. A cold front moving through the area brought a brisk, chill wind gusting from the north that the birds found protection from by hugging the northern shoreline for the windbreak the mangroves provided. Besides the wind and cold temperature, the birds — and photographer — had to contend with a […]
The American White Pelican on winter break visits Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. This large migratory bird likes to fly in groups. Group behavior is the key, since they are also cooperative feeders, floating around together coordinating driving fish into shallow water where they then scoop the fish up with their large bills. A couple of examples of skimming atop the surface of the water during landing before sinking down onto the surface. Fishing as a group activity.
The eponymous spoonbill and garish pink plumage make identifying the Roseate Spoonbill in the field fairly easy. And finding Spoonbills is also fairly easy at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, where all these photos were taken.
Okay, this bird is actually called the Common Gallinule here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. but it was not all that long ago that it was called by the much more aesthetically pleasing Moorhen. Scientific purists thought it would be less confusing to the list keepers of the Animal Kingdom, and most likely they are correct in that it is more accurate, but to me the old name is just fine. Most times you see Moorhens they are […]
A very cute Pied-billed Grebe does a very good Das Boot impression at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Check out the sequence of images as the Grebe submerges underwater like a feathered submarine. Grebes spend a lot of time underwater going after prey. These very skittish birds also, generally, don’t stick around very long for the camera to get photos of them so this was quite a treat.
The name of this bird makes me chuckle, Coot, or more correctly, the American Coot, even funnier. And here they are in great numbers at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge making up what is called a raft defined as a dense flock of floating birds. Lots of them here in Florida for the winter. Get a load of their red eyes! See the Coots! Go, Coot, go! Very groovy.
An American Alligator basks in the warm Sun during a cold, winter day at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge perhaps dreaming of all the fun the Crocodile had that ate Captain Hook’s hand. Can you see the Alligator? The Alligator is the long, dark object at the front of the waterlogged island. Nice teeth!
Cleaning up the last of the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) images for now from Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, mostly of gators sunning themselves in the cold air. More Alligator photos to come sometime in the future.
A continuation of Alligator Study #2, getting a better angle of one of the big gators (Alligator mississippiensis) in the dry wallow. Look at the size of that back leg! And the claws! These Alligators are enormous and are part of the fun of any visit to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge where gators can be seen roaming in the wild of the huge Refuge.