Monday, November 14, 2011

Eurasian Wigeon - Merritt Island NWR

Saturday, November 12th

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.

Snowy Egret

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.

Great Egret
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.
Northern Shovelers

Ran out of day light as far as exploring the rock jetties, so maybe next year.

1 comment:

  1. Tom, my wife and I(from Ohio were observing nearby when you located the Eursian Wigeon. It was our highlight of the day. Hope to return next year.