Sunday, November 20, 2005

Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival 6

For the final day of field trips, I joined the Canaveral Marshes/Blue Heron Created Wetlands excursion. We drove through The Great Outdoors, an incredibly upscale RV resort, to reach the marshes. During our walk toward the hammock, we saw or heard Carolina Wren, Northern Cardinal, Gray Catbird, Pine Warbler, Eastern Phoebe, Sora, Red-shouldered Hawk, Great Egret, Green Heron, Red-bellied Woodpecker (foraging less than 10 feet above my head!), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker and Wild Turkey.

During the fun, muddy hike to the Indian shell midden, I did my best to avoid cobwebs and cow patties while admiring wild orchids. Then someone spied this incredibly red mushroom. The miniscule plant's color reminded me of a Vermilion Flycatcher in the sunlight.

We encountered three Florida box turtles during the hammock hike, two females and a male. The females have flat undersides, while the males have indented undersides to aid breeding efforts. This is one of the females, maybe 5 inches long and 3 inches tall.

On the walk from the hammock toward the bus, we spied Great Blue Heron, Anhinga, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Then we drove to Blue Heron Water Reclamation Plant for a leisurely drive around the cells and ponds. I enjoyed seeing Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, American Coot, Common Moorhen, Bald Eagle, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, Glossy Ibis, Red-winged Blackbird, Pied-billed Grebe, Northern Harrier, Ruddy Duck, Wood Stork and Tricolored Heron.

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