Birdwatching in the Cape Canaveral Florida AreaAuthor: Carl from Pahrump
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Date of Trip: March 2010
The main birding location is Biolab Road, which runs from (28.652 -80.662) to (28.706 -80.727). I usually take the half-mile spur road that starts at (28.661 -80.671) to check for shore birds along Mosquito Lagoon. Large numbers of Snowy & Great Egrets nest in the brush along side the spur road in March. Sometime large rafts of White Pelicans can be seen on the Mosquito Lagoon.
The Playa Linda Beach, which runs from New Smyrna to Cape Canaveral, is used extensively by fishermen and nude bathers (the NPS doesn't enforce the posted sign that says nude bathing is not allowed by Brevard County ordinance). This is a good area for Northern Gannets and common shore birds, but we did see some Wilson's Plovers here once.
Playa Linda Beach is also a good area for finding Sea Glass and bottles that drift in from Cuba and the Caribbean. You can also find "Cheeseburgers", "Sea Hearts" and other hard nuts that drift up from the Amazon River.
Part of the Playa Linda Beach is a wilderness area and you have to buy a $2 pass to walk there. The scenery and Sea Glass are better, but the birding is the same.
There is a Flee Market in Oak Hills on Saturday and Sunday in the Winter. Riverbreeze Park and Semiole Rest are close by.
You have to pay to enter the parts of the NSS where Playa Linda Beach is located. However, you can drive Biolab Rd free if you start at (28.706 -80.727) and go SE. Riverbreeze Park and Semiole Rest are free admission.
3. Sanitary Wetlands
Birding Location Bird Count Rich Grissom Wetland (Viera Wetland) 76 Vero Beach Sanitary Wetlands 59 Blue Heron Wetland (Titusville Ponds) #80 56 Orlando Wetlands #60 52
The Viera Wetlands attracts lots of birds along with some rare birds. A Masked Duck took up residence in Dec 2009 and stayed till Feb 2010. A pair of Crested Caracaras nest (28.228 -80.76) on the property and fledged a juvenile in March 2010. Limpkins and Least Bitterns can sometimes be seen here. We always stop at Crispers (28.231 -80.697) for Lunch when we come here (we love the Black Bean Soup and Asian Chicken Flatbread sandwich).
The Orlando Wetlands attracted Purple Gallinules in 2010 (otherwise, you had to drive to Boynton Beach in South Florida at the Green Cay Nature Center or Loxahatchee NWR to see them). A spectacular Swallow-tailed Kite is resident in the Fort Christmas area, but was also seen in May 2010 flying over residential areas in Titusville.
The Blue Heron Wetland, a.k.a. Titusville Ponds, is good for Coots, Moorhens, Red-shouldered Hawks, Anhingas, and other fairly common Florida Winter birds.
The Vero Beach Sanitary Wetlands attracts a lot of duck and shorebird species.
You can drive around the Viera Wetland (3 miles) and Titusville Ponds (3 miles). The Vero Beach Wetlands and Orlando Wetlands have extensive walking tracks.
4. Sebastian Inlet to Ft Pierce on A1A
There are a dozen beach parks on this stretch on the A1A Highway. The Sebastian Inlet SP has the most birds, and has a fishing pier into the ocean that attracts lots of Northern Gannets, gulls and terns. Once I counted 284 Northern Gannets in this area.
Birding Location Bird Count Sebastian Inlet SP 53 Archie Carr NWR 35 South Beach Park 25 Pelican Island NWR 21
5. New Smyrna Area
Birding Location Bird Count Ponce de Leon County Park 43 Bird Park 31 New Smyrna Beach 28 Spruce Creek 24
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