We are enjoying our time here at the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival in Titusville, Florida. We left home yesterday (48 degrees) and drove the 90 miles and saw 23 species of birds on the way over including: 11 Wild Turkeys, American Kestrel, and 5 Robins. After arriving we spent 2 1/2 hours driving through the Black Point drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. We were chilled to the bones with it still being only 48 degrees with 20-25 mph winds. But, it was worth it. Among the 36 species spotted were 5 new “life birds.”
Here is what we saw: 50 American Wigeons (Life), 40 Mottled Ducks, 50 Blue-winged Teal, 50 Northern Shoveler, 50 Northern Pintail, 15 Pied-billed Grebe, 5 Brown Pelican, 25 Double-crested Cormorants, 5 Anhinga, 7 Great Blue Heron, 8 Great Egret, 15 Little Blue Heron, 10 Tricolored Heron, 1 Green Heron, 30 White Ibis, 10 Glossy Ibis, 16 Roseate Spoonbill, 3 Wood Stork, 15 Black Vulture, 15 Turkey Vulture, 5 Osprey, 1 Bald Eagle, 1 Clapper Rail (Life), 5 Common Moorhen, 1000 American Coot (never seen so many), 2 Sandhill Crane, 1 Killdeer, 50 Avocet (Life), 1 Spotted Sandpiper (Life), 20 Greater Yellowlegs, 25 Lesser Yellowlegs, 10 Short-billed Dowitcher (Life), 3 Wilson’s Snipe, 5 Ring-billed Gull, and 2 Belted Kingfisher.
We were fortunate to keep running into Peter, from Massachusetts, who was a big help with some of the IDs. He is here for the Birding Festival also. He had his telescope which was a big help.
Today, they really started the seminars, workshops, trips, and other activities. The festival runs until Sunday. This morning I attended an informative “Beginning Photography” seminar, by Milton Heiberg Photography, and then this afternoon, I went to a great workshop about “Kingfishers” by Jeffrey A. Gordon from Leica. Today I had the privilege of having conversations with Bill Thompson III (Bird Watcher’s Digest, editor) and Pete Dunn at Cape May Bird Observatory who has written many bird books and both are well known in the “birding world.”