I am 62 years old, and until I attended the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival this year I had never been to Florida. I was beside myself with anticipation as I boarded my plane for the Sunshine State. After flight delays, flying through a storm, renting a car in the middle of the night and driving through the remnants of the storm, I finally made it to Titusville in my Nissan Cube at 1:30 a.m. I was a New Mexican in Florida, and I was ready for a birding festival.
The first thing that I signed up for was a tour of the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands at Viera, more commonly known as the Viera Wetlands. When I arrived at 5:30 a.m. I was barely conscious. I did not remember to adjust my camera at all, so most of my photographs are not very good. I did, however, manage to take a few photos that are recognizable as birds.
It was a cold, sunny morning at Viera. A busload of birders shivered in the early morning cold.
As the day got warmer, I was able to enjoy the beautiful scenery, which is quite exotic to someone from New Mexico.
I saw birds that I had never seen before. My favorite was the Limpkin.
And there were other new birds as well.
I also saw White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, American Bittern, Palm Warblers, Eastern Phoebe, Common Yellowthroat, and a Red-shouldered Hawk, all of which are not found in New Mexico. My photos of these are not good enough to share.
I was pleased to see old friends in a new location.
And a first for this New Mexican: an alligator in the wild. Can you see him in the vegetation?
By the afternoon I had returned to semi-consciousness, and I had remembered to adjust my camera. I was in Florida, and I was ready to see more birds! Stay tuned.
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