Black Point Wildlife Drive
Black Point Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Drive is one of the richest--and easiest--wildlife viewing drives anywhere in Florida.
So it's fitting that tourists who migrate to Florida every winter are called "snowbirds," since they're imitating the pattern established for millions
of years by wintering waterfowl.
But Titusville, east of Orlando, and at the Merritt Island Wildlife
Refuge is the last place I expect to see snowbirds just before before Christmas. Yet the first 3 cars to pass me on the Black Point Wildlife
Drive are all from the far north.
One is from Pennsylvania, another from Montana but the most surprising
is the SUV from Quebec. Obviously it's just arrived because it's changed
from blue to off-white, coated with the salt used to melt road ice.
I didn't realize the 7-mile dirt/paved road through salt marshland had beome internationally famous. Ironically, many of the birds these northerners are likely
to see are from their own part of the world.
To escape the freezing temperatures, ducks, marsh birds, songbirds and
many others fly here from as far away as Alaska, a journey of 6,000
Besides being a winter sanctuary, the refuge's system of shallow water
impoundments house resident egrets, herons, roseate spoonbills, wood
storks and even bald eagles.
When conditions are right, Merritt Island is one of the best birding
areas in the Southeast and the wildlife drive the best way to access
Some of the best places to look for birds and alligators are pinpointed in
an excellent guide/leaflet that's supposed to be available at an unmanned
kiosk at the start of the drive.
the leaflets aren't always there, and that's too bad because they're
essential for understanding the history and purpose of the impoundment
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