Space Coast here I come!
Next week I’ll be heading off to Florida to participate in the Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival in Titusville, Florida. I’ve been to Florida many times in many seasons, but this is first time I’ve spent so much time there solely as a birder. Florida offers many opportunities for family time as well, and when your family is only half-birder at best, you have to shoe-horn in the birds when you can. I’ve managed to do pretty well in those moments away, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely stoked to give myself to the birds fully and completely. And get to hang out with some pretty cool people besides.
So my primary duty will be to write about the festival in my capacity as 10,000 Birds representative, but I’ll also be repping the ABA as well and leading a few trips. Unfortunately I’ll have to duck out early (assuming everything comes together) for another opportunity before the end end, but for the four days I’ll be onsite and birding hard, here’s what my schedule looks like. You know, if you’re coming down and you’re still not lined up for any trips yet.
Wednesday, January 28, I’ll be out of the gate hard and early with a trip to Viera Wetlands with ABA prez Jeff Gordon. I have a mixed history with this site, as I epically dipped on a Masked Duck here back in 2006 when a huge thunderstorm chased me out of the spot and away from the bird. Viera has a history of turning up really good stuff, so here’s hoping this memory is a little more positive.
The next day, January 29, I’m soloing on a trip to Cruickshank Sanctuary to find Florida Scrub Jays. The great thing about the jays is not only that this should be a pretty certain spot for them, but there should be some cool herps around too.
On January 30, I’ll be leading an afternoon walk to Pine Island, which doubles as a historical site where the first white settlers landed on Merritt Island. Frankly, I have no idea what to expect for this trip, but it’ll be interesting at least and there’s not a single place on that island that isn’t birdy.
My last day (maybe) at the festival will see me back with Jeff Gordon touring some of the lesser known, but no less productive, hotspots in the area. This should be a good, and long, trip that hopefully I will not have to duck out of early.
Aside from Viera Wetlands, I have never visited any of these sites, and I’m really excited to do so. It sounds like there will be no shortage of photo opportunities and my Brevard County list, currently at a cool 58, ought to easily join that glorious echelon of counties not in North Carolina with 100 species. Maybe I’ll even get a Razorbill, before this season something of a very rare bird in Florida.