Category Archives: places

Scrub-Jay lotto…

I wanted to go to The North Brevard Strawberry Festival. Of course the weekend weather plummeted, turning cold and rainy, Johnny wasn’t too interested in going to the festival. He knew he would soon reap the benefits of strawberry preserves that I had intended on canning. While the Doral Golf tournament was on, he could stay cozy and not deal with traffic and people. Eden and utopia are closely matched in this scenario.

I decided that since I had already planned on going to the festival and now changed my mind, I still wanted to get out. There is a tiny road I see all the time, but I’ve never been down there. A sign says it’s Scrub Ridge Trail. Since it’s a side road within The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, I figured it had somethin to do with Scrub-Jays.

A cool little bird, it is THE ONLY bird endemic to Florida. This excerpt came from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology;

“A species that today numbers fewer than 6,000 individuals in the wild and that exists nowhere in the world outside of Florida. In a state whose human population has nearly quadrupled since 1960, the Florida Scrub-Jay has lost much of its choice scrub habitat to citrus groves and subdivisions.” 

My tangent on destruction of property to accomodate condo developers will come at a later date.

After I read that the hiking trail is only one mile, I knew that I could take my time and maybe see some stuff. What are the odds of me finding a Scrub-Jay in an area I don’t know?  Nil quickly came to mind. But I didn’t care. It was better than bein hemmed up in the apartment all day. Johnny decided if there wouldn’t be traffic and old ladies in funny hats, he was in for a hike.

15 minutes later, I was hopping out of the truck, with camera gear and Johnny in tow. There were two paths to pick from, and we chose the north path.

The first thing I noticed was there had been a recent controlled burn. Very recent.

 CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE 🙂

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The refuge has controlled burns often; I understand the concept to a point, but I can’t help but think it displaces wildlife and that’s where my confusion lies. But, that too is another suject for another day,

My heart sank when I saw the burnt palmettos. That, with the cold and rainy day made me think I shoulda stayed home and watched golf. We walked the back trail and saw nothing.  Egrets and ‘spoonbills farrrrrrrrr away, a couple of gator slides, and a 9 Banded Armadillo.

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We went as far as we could before the ground turned to marsh. The rain wasn’t helpin. We circled back and at the fork, took the high road in. I silently hoped I made the right choice. I thought this had to lead to the truck, but if it didn’t, it would be fine. The marl was nice to walk on, and it was dry. About a 1/4 mile. Nothin. Then a Scrub-Jay appeared. On the right,

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Then another. With breakfast even. BONUS!

Those two flew off to dine, and another came to the bush at my shoulder. Happy to pose for me, I shot a few images

Florida Scrub Jay.

I can’t believe our luck!  The only thing that topped that was I had picked the right road to get us back to the truck!  WINNING!!! What a great day!

Bird Migration at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

It’s been awhile, so I wanted to share some images I have of the wonderous end of a journey led by instinct for the birds that end up on a little parcel of land in Central Florida every year. Their goal is to produce the next generation, and this is where the crowds and cameras come into play. After the labors of their travels bring them here, they settle in for the cool weather we call winter. This is what I see………………………………

CLICK on images for better resolution. 🙂

Egrets in air combat
Egrets in air combat on The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
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Egrets in air combat on The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Royal Tern Ballett on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

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Egrets in air combat on The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
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Egrets in air combat on The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Royal Tern Fishing
Royal Tern on The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Royal Terns

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Sunrise on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

There you have it. Now you know where I’ve been. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do sharing it.. Have a great day!

Susan