Beyond the BackyardMerritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Finally!

Finally! I got to use The Beast for the first time in almost a month! After hearing friends talk about the great birds at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, I went there yesterday. Blackpoint Wildlife Drive was busier than I’ve ever seen it (both with birds and photographers :)). The birding wasn’t spectacular, due to the winds, but I did get to see my first Horned Grebe. He was hanging out by the culvert near the bathrooms on Blackpoint. I was amazed at his bright red eye. After I got home and saw his pictures, I saw that he’s missing part of the top of his beak. Poor little guy.

A flock of several hundred American White Pelicans was hanging out fairly near the road. It was fun to see them. They certainly haven’t settled at Circle B this year. I had fun trying to photograph them – there were always lots of birdie butts! I tried to wait until they were all facing the same way. I think this one should be called “the eyes have it!”

The terns and gulls flew over the pelicans, trying to steal fish whenever possible. They kept flying away from me, though! I told them all about good head angles and asked them to fly towards me, but they didn’t listen. :)

I saw flocks of Hooded Mergansers, then this little Red-Breasted Merganser swimming close to shore. She was bathing, and she also needed a little lesson about head angles. She kept doing wing-flaps, but facing away from me! Silly bird. Look at that bright red beak!