View Full Version : Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

01-02-2009, 06:10 PM
If you're into scenic fresh & saltwater marsh and lots of waterfowl, this is a good time of year to pay a visit to Merritt Island Nat. Wildlife Refuge (http://www.fws.gov/merrittisland/VIC.html) Their directions: "From I-95, take Exit 220 (Titusville, State Road 406 Exit). Drive east on SR406, also known as Garden Street. Continue east on Garden Street for 4 miles and travel over the Max Brewer Causeway Bridge. The Refuge begins at the east side of the causeway.To reach the Visitor Information Center, continue 4 miles past the Refuge entrance (remain to your right at the fork in the road) and the Visitor Center entrance sign will be on your right."

Some of us are heading over there tomorrow with plans to rendezvous at their visitor center (Sat, 1/3/2009, 9AM). There is also the upcoming birding & wildlife festival (http://www.nbbd.com/fly/) the week of Jan 21st.

01-02-2009, 06:45 PM
This isn't a bad time of year, but if you want variety of birds, your best bet is for late February to early March. That is the time that all the migrated birds are coming back home. When I used to live in FL, I made it a point to spend a few days there in late Feb, or early March if late February weather wasn't good. In my experience there my best times for photographing birds are two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset. It's a hard vacation decision to make, as these are also the best times for fishing.
For those with the long lens, lots of photo ops are there. Look for the few samples of high ground, mount that beast on the tripod (800/5.6L in my case) and scan the horizon and trees. Teleconverters are your friend when scanning for bird activity.
Fill the cooler and live out of the truck for a few days. Good times on the cape!

01-04-2009, 04:28 PM
Some of us from Jax area visited the Refuge yesterday. the weather was perfect (near 80) with no bugs and calm wind. The Black Point Wildlife Drive was disappointing ( I was primarily interested in the mangrove islands). The water level seemed abnormally low (drove thru both early morning and early afternoon so wasn't due to tidal); and number of waterfowl was low (plenty of gators, though). We extensively explored the roads around the Visitor Center, and they provided a wealth of opportunities (two of our party claim to have seen a black bear). These roads (Gator Creek, Catfish Creek & Peacock Pocket) provide views of the River, marsh as well as the launch complex. Don't need extremely long lenses to get close up to alot of wildlife ( a flock of Roseate Spoonbills was only about 50ft away). If hungry, the nearby downtown of Titusville provides some good food choices ( eg Kloiber's Cobbler). Recommended.