I haven't done much much birding lately and expect to have to back-off some in the near future to attend other responsibilities. But one event I had been looking forward to was my first pelagic trip. I was signed up for Michael Brothers' trip out of Ponce Inlet on the 13th. Due to logistics I took two vacation days from work for the trip. Day one, today , was a travel day capped off with visit to Merritt Island NWR. I had originally planned to only take time to explore the rock jetties at Ponce Inlet for any early purple sandpipers, but a report on a Eurasian Wigeon among the newly arriving ducks was very tempting.
Arrived at Merritt Island around 2:30 and committed to only viewing Black Point Wildlife Drive today. The water levels were a bit high and not a lot of waders and shorebirds were present that I could see. Did have Reddish Egrets, Great Blue Egrets, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and White Ibis. As for shore birds only found Dunlins, Blackbellied Plovers and Willets.
At stop #8 is were to look for the ducks. American Coots were by far the most numerous paddler. Next were probably American Wigeons. Also saw Green-winged teal, Blue-winged Teal, Redheads, Gadwell, Northern Shovelers, Mottled Ducks and Northern Pintail. And I did locate the reported.Eurasian Wigeon. I assisted another birder, Jason, in locating the wigeon and he produced a photo that actually showed that there were at least two male eurasian wigeons present.
Others birds seen included an American Gallinule, Pied-billed Grebes, a Bald Eagle and several Osprey. On the fishing pull-offs at the bridge I looked for any black-backed gulls, but only added Laughing Gulls, FOS Ring-billed and Herring Gulls. Dipped on avocets, white pelicans and the black-backed gulls.
Ran out of day light as far as exploring the rock jetties, so maybe next year.