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Birdwatching in the Cape Canaveral Florida Area

Author: Carl from Pahrump
Email: carlball@yahoo.com (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: March 2010



glossy ibis floridaIn 2009 and 2010 we spent 6 months (Feb, March, & Dec 2009 and Jan, Feb, & March 2010) birding in various locations along the Atlantic Coast of Florida from Daytona Beach to Vero Beach. These Winter months were good for water and shore birds, but not so good for songbirds.

We saw 178 bird species at 39 locations during the Winters of 2009 & 2010:

City Birding Location Latitude Longitude Orchid Archie Carr NWR 27.783 -80.407 Port Orange Bird Park 29.144 -80.977 Fellsmere Blue Cypress Lake Park 27.727 -80.776 Titusville Blue Heron Wetland (#80) 28.539 -80.86 Titusville Canaveral NSS - Biolab Rd & Beach 28.67 -80.683 Oak Hill Canaveral NSS - Semiole Rest 28.871 -80.837 New Smyrna Beach Canaveral NSS - Playa Linda 28.858 -80.776 Titusville Chain of Lakes Rec Area 28.637 -80.822 Coco Beach Cruickshank Sanctuary 28.294 -80.707 Titusville Enchanted Forest Sanctuary 28.533 -80.802 Cocoa Fay Lake Wilderness Park 28.462 -80.834 Fellsmere Fellsmere Grade Rec Area 27.823 -80.66 Grant Fisherman's Landing Park 27.956 -80.537 Fellsmere Fort Drum Marsh 27.633 -80.766 Titusville Fox Lake Park 28.588 -80.873 Melbourne Geiger Point 28.082 -80.595 Cocoa Kiwanis Is 28.358 -80.678 DeLeon Lake Woodruff NWR 29.107 -81.388 Coco Beach Lori Wilson Park 28.336 -80.609 Titusville Merritt Island NWR - Black Pt Loop 28.673 -80.772 Titusville Merritt Island NWR - Hunter's Loop 28.605 -80.741 Oak Hill Merritt Island NWR - Scottsmoor Landing 28.771 -80.844 Titusville Merritt Island NWR - Shilo Rd 28.801 -80.847 Roseland N Sebastian Cons Area 27.819 -80.477 New Smyrna Beach New Smyrna Beach 29.033 -80.89 Christmas Orlando Wetlands #60 28.576 -80.999 Titusville Parrish Park (#69) 28.626 -80.791 Orchid Pelican Island NWR 27.81 -80.44 Merritt Island Pine Lake Conservation Area #82 28.49 -80.721 Ponce de Leon Ponce de Leon County Park 29.078 -80.921 Viera Rich Grissom Wetland 28.229 -80.771 Oak Hill Riverbreeze Park 28.897 -80.852 Orchid Sebastian Inlet SP 27.857 -80.451 Vero Beach South Beach Park 27.633 -80.351 New Smyrna Beach Spruce Creek 29.079 -80.968 Kenansville Three Lakes WMA FBT #103 27.911 -81.15 Ormond Beach Tomokie SP 29.349 -81.089 Fellsmere Upper St John's River Marsh (Blue Cypress) 27.663 -80.664 Vero Beach Vero Beach Sanitary Wetlands 27.617 -80.504

If you put these coordinates into Google Earth, you can see the locations I am discussing. Typically, there will be lots of pictures as well.

We never saw more than 64-bird species on any day. The top days were at Merritt island and Canaveral National Seashore. We averaged 32 bird species a day over the 6 months

The birds seen per day was mostly influenced by where we went birding, not by the month when we went birding; i.e. Dec thru March had about the same number of bird species present. By the end of March the Ducks had left (except for a few stragglers) but the Shore Birds were still present. The Song Bird migration does not start till April.

72 bird species were very easy to find and see -- in fact, it is hard to miss Ospreys anywhere near water in Brevard County. 50 bird species require some effort to see, but can usually be found at the top birding locations like Merritt Island NWR. We rarely saw 56 of the bird species -- some were out of their normal range like the Ross' Goose, some were early or late migrants, some we heard about from other birders like the Mask Duck, and sometimes you just get lucky like with the Snail Kite and Swallow-tailed Kite.

florida scrub jayThe Florida Scrub Jay is the only U.S. endemic bird in Florida. It can be easily seen before and after the entrance station to the Canaveral National Seashore (28.645 -80.683), and at the Cruickshank Sanctuary (where one landed on my head).

Lodging

We stayed in rental houses we found on www.vrbo.com. We stayed 3 months in the Sebastian area, 2 months in Titusville, and 1 month in New Smyrna Beach. Titusville is centrally located to the best birding locations.

If I was planning a short trip to this area, the high priority birding locations would be:

Merritt Island NWR - Black Pt Loop Merritt Island NWR -- Hunter's Loop Playa Linda Beach from the Titusville side Rich Grissom Wetland (Viera Wetland) Sebastian Inlet SP Ponce de Leon County Park Orlando Wetlands

You would need 3 days to minimally visit each of these locations -- a week would be better. These are the kind of birding spots you can go to over-and-over again and still see something new.

For Current Information on Birds Being Seen

Go to www.ebird.org

Click on the View and Explore Data

Click on Arrivals and Departures (essentially, first seen this year & last seen this year)

You may need to Register (but its free)



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