Birdwatching in the Cape Canaveral Florida AreaAuthor: Carl from Pahrump
Email: email@example.com (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: March 2010
Select Florida, then click Counties, and Select Brevard from the drop-down list
Select Arrivals or Departures, and the Year
Special Comments on Birding Locations:
1. Merritt Island
Birding Location Bird Count Merritt Island NWR - Black Pt Loop 102 Merritt Island NWR -- Hunter's Loop 85 Pine Lake Conservation Area #82 57 Merritt Island NWR - Scottsmoor Landing 51 Parrish Park (#69) 43 Merritt Island NWR - Shilo Rd 39
For me, Merritt Island is what I always thought the Everglades would be. I have never been disappointed birding anywhere on Merritt Island, but I have always been disappointed birding any part of the Everglades NP.
The paved Black Point Drive is the best-known part of the Merritt Island NWR and is very productive in the Winter months (Dec thru March). Many thousands of Ducks and Shore Birds winter here, especially Wigeons, Pintails, Coots, and Dunlins. A Eurasian Wigeon was regularly seen mixed in with about 2000 American Wigeons during the Winters of 2009 and 2010 (look for a Wigeon with a reddish head).
By the end of March the ducks are mostly gone, and the shore birds have mostly moved to the Hunter's Loop.
The Hunter's Loop can be accessed at 4 locations off the Max Brewer Parkway (SR-402). The Hunter's Loop is not paved, but usually accessible by car. This can be a great location for shore birds and Scaups, but once we saw 146 Roseate Spoonbills here.
The Hunter's Loop can be defined by the following grid points:
Point Lat Long Comment A 28.643 -80.729 Entrance - just past VC B 28.608 -80.728 C 28.627 -80.773 D 28.631 -80.773 E 28.633 -80.771 F 28.643 -80.767 Entrance - East Gator Road G 28.635 -80.776 H 28.637 -80.778 Entrance I 28.628 -80.787 Entrance - first right turn after crossing Indian River
In addition to the 5 mile loop from A to B to G to I; 2 short sub-loops can be very productive for Shore Birds; i.e., I to G to H, and H to G to E to F.
Parrish Park is a sand bar on the east side of the Indian River that you can't miss on the way to Merritt Island from Titusville. It is a good place to see Black Skimmers and Lesser Scaups. A Great Black-back Gull and Common Loon are usually present along with mobs of Ring-bill Gulls.
A large flock of White Pelicans winter in the Indian River near Scottsmoor Landing. You might see them flying and feeding anywhere on Merritt Island.
Note: Merritt Island and Canaveral NSS are closed for 3 days before Shuttle launches, and during some rocket launches. Night Shuttle and Rocket launches are the most spectacular!
2. Canaveral National Seashore
Birding Location Bird Count Canaveral National Seashore - Biolab Rd & Beach (Titusville side) 100 Riverbreeze Park 46 Canaveral NSS - Playa Linda (New Smyrna side) 42 Canaveral National Seashore - Semiole Rest 22
The NSS is on Merritt island and has similar eco-systems and birds, except the NSS does not have large concentrations of Ducks.
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