March 5 – Merritt Island

As we’d previously toured Kennedy Space Center, we opted to take in Merritt Island today.  After a stop at the Visitor’s Center, where we were treated to

Ospreys

Cardinals

Queen Butterflies

we drove the 7-mile Black Point Wildlife loop road through the salt marshes along the Indian River side of the barrier island.  The scenery and waterfowl were again breathtaking!

Pintail Ducks

Herons

Egrets

Male Coots

Female Coots

Alligators

Horseshoe Crabs

and several species of butterflies

And many great reflections …

We then stopped at a Manatee viewing area along Haulover Canal linking the Intercoastal Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon.  While we’d seen manatees in the past, those views were generally little more than light-colored shapes drifting below the surface of the water.  Here, however, we got some great views of a large manatee.

From there we decided to drive out to Playalinda Beach on the Atlantic Ocean.  The beach road, between the dunes, is well marked, has 13 parking areas with beach access,

an occasional sign

and at least one

We stopped by a couple of the beaches, which are fairly narrow although have extremely fine sand.  At the last beach, however, we finally found some additional wildlife we’d not encountered before!

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