Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge…on the road…again

Jodi:  You may already know that David and I set out one morning to go to some of our favorite drive-around sites. 

These days I’m not the only shutterbug in the truck.  While I have been studying David has developed a hobby of his own!  His talent and equipment have definitely surpassed mine…but I will keep on practicing, and we will both bring our knowledge and skills to the table.

David:  I’m definitely a work in progress regarding photography skills.  As I get closer to retirement, I wanted to think ahead to the next chapter.  That chapter will include a continuation of projects such as this blog and, maybe, a few others.

We started this day at Canaveral National Seashore.  The relatively early hour meant that the crowds hadn’t arrived yet on this perfect beach day.  We walked the beach and observed more high energy wave action than usual due to a far-off tropical disturbance.  Hunger pangs soon set in and we decided to head to an early lunch.

J:  After lunch we headed south to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge [MINWR] for some additional sightseeing.

At most places in Florida, it doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s morning, evening or somewhere in between…we always seem to see the beauty.

D:  We’re also, hopefully, not too far away from the cooler temperatures and lower humidity of fall in Florida.  I know this trip took place in late September, but the weather had yet to take on those fall weather characteristics.  We’ll soon start to see the effects of annual migrations on the species we can observe.  It will also be nice not to sweat through our clothes from walking around!

Little blue heron

J:  From our experience, MINWR is a great place for birds of all kinds.  Not long after the front gate this one was sneaking up on a snick snack as we watched.

In one of the canals off to the right, we found this little family.

Common gallinule with chicks

One of the kids was as curious about me snapping pics as I was about it.

In the way that it’s shedding, this plant somewhat reminded me of the ‘cat tails’ that I remember as a kid ‘up north.’

David taught me the way to tell the difference between and Egret and a White Heron is the color of their legs…an Egret has black legs…right David?

D:  Easiest way for me.

J:  Now to my last pic of the day:  this little gator was about two feet long from nose to tail and his head was quite tiny.  Maybe an inch separated his eyes and it had a short little snout.  It appeared all alone, but rest assured where there are little gators… there are big Momma Gators lurking somewhere close.  Cute as it was, I stayed in the truck to get this pic.

D: We ventured down Bio Lab Road where I hoped to be able to observe some horseshoe crabs as I had a few weeks before.  Unfortunately, this was a bust and, as it was getting late, we decided to end this adventure and, as always, look forward to the next one.

Stay Tuned for our next adventure.

Remember to: Take only photos and leave only footprints.

Now get out there and Hike Central FL and Beyond.

Home – Merritt Island – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (

About David Hansen

A bunny- and tree- hugging biology-type with an appreciation for what nature has to offer.
Leaf & Twig

Where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Editor in Northern California. Interested in tiny things, nineties nostalgia, old jungle mixtapes, punctuation, and my cats. Not to be fed after midnight.


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