Walking Snowy Egret Showing Off Yellow Feet

Snowy Egret at Merritt Island NWR 1-1-2019 by Lee

Dan and I went over to the east coast of Florida during the New Year holiday. We were able to do some birdwatching at Viera Wetlands in Viera, Florida and also went to Merritt Island National Wildlife Reserve’s Black Point Dr. That is where I captured this Snowy Egret strutting with his yellow feet showing. Also saw the Snowy Egrets at Viera.

Many verses that refer to walking come to mind. Good reminders as we start the new year off. Here are a few of the verses:

“But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.” (Psalms 26:11 KJV)

Snowy Egret Viera Wetlands – 12-31-2018 by Lee

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.” (Psalms 84:11-12 KJV)

“Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.” (Psalms 86:11-12 KJV)

Snowy Egret Viera Wetlands – 12-31-2018 by Lee

“They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.” (Psalms 119:3 KJV)

“Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.” (Proverbs 3:23 KJV)

Snowy Egret Viera Wetlands – 12-31-2018 by Lee

“Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:” (Isaiah 42:5 KJV)

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 KJV)

Birdwatching at Merritt Island Blackpoint Drive

Great Egret Relaxing at Black Point Dr.

Great Egret Relaxing at Black Point Dr.

“This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Psalms 132:14 KJV)

Dan and I took a short break and drove to the east coast of Florida and spent two nights. On Tuesday, we drove through Merritt Island’s Black Point Drive. I was reading their page and it says, “The 7-mile, one-way drive follows a dike road around several shallow marsh impoundments and through pine flatwoods. This provides an excellent place to see waterfowl (in season), wading birds, shorebirds and raptors. Alligators, river otters, bobcats, various species of snakes, and other wildlife may be visible as well. A self-guiding brochure (available near the drive entrance) will provide information on things to look for. Driving time is approximately 40 minutes.” [emphasis mine] That 40 minutes is for those who are just viewing birds. Those of us who are birdwatchers and photographers have hardly gone halfway in 40 minutes.

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We enjoyed seeing many of the wintering birds this time. Last time we visited, the ponds were almost dried up and so had the birdwatching. Much better this trip.

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Zoomed in on Great White Egret

As those of you know who have been following this blog, that I am dealing with a back issue and will probably need surgery in a month or so. The benefit of visiting this place and Viera Wetlands, which we did on Wednesday, is that I can watch and take pictures from the car, or just step outside. That is what I did, so some of the shots may not be the best. I appreciate those of you who have been praying about my back. My MRI isn’t scheduled until the 26th of Jan. [insurance issue] At any rate, I trust that my adventure will encourage those of you who have health issues, to go ahead and figure out a way to still enjoy the Lord’s blessings in nature.

This Snowy Egret was trying to shuffle up a fish – Enlarge video to see the shuffling better:

“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19 KJV)

Most of the views are quite distant, but I always enjoy the challenge of trying to zoom in an catch some of these critters. Surprising, even at these distances, you can ID the birds.

Here are some of the photos that I took. Dan doesn’t have his ready yet.

I will have more of our trip later.

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Previous trips to Merritt Island:

Birdwatching Trip Titusville – Dec 2013

Blue-winged Teal Viera Wetlands by Lee

Blue-winged Teal at Viera Wetlands by Lee

This last Monday we made a 90 mile trip over to the Titusville area. We visited the Viera Wetlands and the Brevard Zoo and then on Tuesday we drove up to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge before heading back home.

Tricolored Heron Viera Wetlands by Lee

Tricolored Heron Viera Wetlands by Lee

Things did not go as planned, but we had a great trip anyway. To begin with, when we got our cameras out at Viera Wetlands, Dan’s did not work. So he was without a camera for the whole trip. (Bummer!)

Great Blue Heron Viera Wetlands - Bad Hair Day

Great Blue Heron Viera Wetlands – Bad Hair Day

It was windy, overcast and the birds, what few there were of them, were staying low. Did get a great shot of a “wind-blown” Great Blue Heron. It definitely was having a “bad hair day.”

Hooded Merganser Viera Wetlands behind reeds with hood up.

Hooded Merganser Viera Wetlands behind reeds with hood up.

Hooded Merganser Viera Wetlands in clear with hood down.

Hooded Merganser Viera Wetlands in clear with hood down.

After a nice lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, we ducked into the Brevard Zoo for a couple of hours. Got a few nice photos, since Dan used my camera to get through the fences for me. I shoot in Program mode, so I take lots of pictures of fences and cages and few photos occasionally of the birds. (As you can tell by the two photos above)

Wrinkled Hornbill female Brevard Zoo by Dan thru the cage

Wrinkled Hornbill female Brevard Zoo by Dan thru the cage

I captured a photo of the male at the first visit to the Brevard Zoo.

Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) Brevard Zoo by Lee

Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) Brevard Zoo by Lee

The next morning we drove up to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to the 7 mile Black Point Drive. There were only four cars, counting ours, on the whole drive. Again, it was windy, which we thought was supposed to be less than the day before.

Reddish Egret MINWR Black Pt Drv by Lee crop

Reddish Egret MINWR Black Pt Drv by Lee crop

There were not many ducks or birds of that type. We found out from one of them driving around that the salt level is too high, thus the lack of ducks. Usually this time of the year, there are plenty to see. We did manage to find some Hooded Mergansers with some American Avocets (rare for me).

Hooded Merganser and American Avocet MINWR Black Pt Drv by Lee crop

Hooded Merganser and American Avocet MINWR Black Pt Drv by Lee crop

Not to be discouraged, we found other birds to view and see an alligator about 12 feet long. That is one of the joys of going on a birdwatching adventure. You never know what you will see or not see. It is alway different. Even going to a zoo with the same birds, there is always something interesting to see. The Lord gives us:

The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24 NASB)

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See:
Viera Wetlands

Brevard Zoo

Black Point Drive – MINWR

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Day Two at the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival

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.”

Clappper Rail at Merritt Is. NWR

Clappper Rail at Merritt Is. NWR

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.

Snowy Egret at Merritt Is. NWR

Snowy Egret at Merritt Is. NWR

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.”