One of our favorite places to visit when in the Space Coast area is the Black Point Wildlife Drive on Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Recently as we were driving to the refuge I spotted a large bird on a tree off in the distance. We pulled over and discovered the bird to be a Bald Eagle. Who doesn’t love seeing Bald Eagles in the wild? We sure do as we admired it a while before continuing on the Black Point Wildlife Drive.
Visitors can either drive the Black Point Wildlife Drive loop or bicycle it but with it still being on the hot and sticky side we opted to drive the loop very slowly. The wetlands are a fantastic location in which to see any of the water birds who happen to be in the area. We were excited about what else we would see but I supposed it would be a bit early to be able to see many ducks.
Sure enough we had driven about 1/3 of the loop without any duck sightings and surprisingly not even any American Coots. We did however, see many different herons and egrets. My favorite of all the herons is the tri-colored heron of which we saw several . I love watching them hunt. They appear to be “dancing” as they jump about, moving back and forth with their wings spread while hunting their prey. So much fun to watch…
As we made our way further around the loop drive we finally spotted a few ducks, mostly blue winged teal and a few mallards. Pied billed grebes were abundant as were red winged blackbirds. We pulled over to park and hike along a berm in the park. As soon as we started our hike we saw snowy egrets and green herons perched in the mangroves. Further along the trail much to our delight we encountered a small group of roseate spoonbills one of our all time favorite coastal birds.
We watched them feed and socialize for about 20 minutes snapping occasional photos. There were two groups of them near us. A small group of three was closest to us and another larger group of 8-10 were a good way across the water. Such fun it was to watch such wonders of nature in the wild. We eventually returned back to the car to finish the loop.
As we neared the finish we entered less brackish waters where we started seeing alligators and gallinules. Also some early migrants of smaller shorebirds were evident but far enough away to remain unidentified. The last few birds spotted were a northern harrier flying low over the marsh in search of something tasty to eat and a long belted kingfisher also looking for a tasty treat.
We just love this loop drive and in fact drove it a couple of times during our stay.…It never disappoints.
NOTE: We are leaving Mims Florida today to move south to Wickham Park near Melbourne Florida for four nights.