It was typical 2024 Florida winter weather when I visited Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, Jan. 27. It was sunny, then cloudy, then rainy, then cloudy, then sunny, etc. Rinse and repeat, as they say.
I decided to make the most of what has been rare January sunshine and hit up both Orlando Wetlands and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Sort of a birding doubleheader. But I hit the Daily Double for these trips.
Between clouds and rain showers, I was able to visit my three go-to spots for birding – Orlando Wetlands, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive – in the first two weeks of January.
In addition to seeing some new birds, I also came across some regulars who became part of some of my favorite photos of 2023.
On a trip to the wildlife preserve, I came across some old favorites as well as three new-to-me birds: A female American Redstart, an Eastern Phoebe and a Least Flycatcher.
A quick Sunday morning trip to Black Point Wildlife Drive on Merritt Island was worth it with a Reddish Egret, Little Blue Heron and one very wet Osprey.
Though the bird migration season is winding down, there are still scores of amazing birds at Fort DeSoto Park near St. Petersburg, and I was able to photograph 16 different types of birds.