We had some doubts about how the government shutdown would impact our use of the facilities at Merritt Island, but the birds had no such qualms, showing up en masse for our enjoyment. 

The stars of the day were the American Avocet, feeding and moving together in a flock of over 50 birds.  The Reddish Egrets proved more elusive; although, with some patience, one did make a nice showing for the photographers in the group.  Several species of ducks were in residence; Blue-winged Teal and Northern Shoveler were present in large numbers.  Scope views helped us to identify less common ducks such as Redhead and Canvasback.  Twenty-one participants observed 62 species at Merritt Island.  We ended the day at Viera Wetlands, adding 9 more species to the day, including American Bittern, Purple Gallinule  and Black-crowned Night-Heron.

Report by Doris Brookens

Group photo by Adela Blacka, bird photos by Hart Rufe except as noted. Full checklists for Merritt Island NWR and Viera Wetlands are available in eBird.

Total of 71 Species

Ducks: Blue-winged Teal; Northern Shoveler; American Wigeon; Mottled Duck; Northern Pintail; Canvasback; Redhead; Ring-necked Duck; Hooded Merganser

Grebes: Pied-billed Grebe

Pigeons and Doves: Rock Pigeon; Eurasian Collared-Dove; Mourning Dove

Cranes and Rails: Clapper Rail; Sora; Common Gallinule; American Coot; Purple Gallinule; Sandhill Crane

Shorebirds: American Avocet; Killdeer; Wilson's Snipe; Greater Yellowlegs; Lesser Yellowlegs

Gulls, Terns and Skimmers: Laughing Gull; Ring-billed Gull; Great Black-backed Gull; Caspian Tern; Forster’s Tern

Loons: Common Loon

Pelicans, Cormorants and Allies: Wood Stork; Anhinga; Double-crested Cormorant; American White Pelican

Wading Birds: Great Blue Heron; Great Egret; Snowy Egret; Little Blue Heron; Tricolored Heron; Reddish Egret; Cattle Egret; Green Heron; White Ibis; Glossy Ibis; Roseate Spoonbill; Black-crowned Night-Heron; American Bittern

Vultures: Black Vulture; Turkey Vulture

Hawks: Osprey; Northern Harrier; Bald Eagle; Red-shouldered Hawk; Red-tailed Hawk

Kingfishers: Belted Kingfisher

Woodpeckers: Red-bellied Woodpecker; Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Falcons: American Kestrel

Flycatchers: Eastern Phoebe

Shrikes and Vireos: Loggerhead Shrike

Jays and Crows: Fish Crow

Swallows: Tree Swallow

Wrens and Gnatcatchers: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Thrushes: American Robin

Mimids and Starlings: Gray Catbird; European Starling

Blackbirds: Red-winged Blackbird; Boat-tailed Grackle; Common Grackle

Warblers: Palm Warbler; Yellow-rumped Warbler